ARRL Northwestern Division Newsletter – February 12, 2020

Welcome to February! I hope everybody is staying out of the rainy
weather and everybody’s antennas are surviving the winter storms.
This month we will provide a few ARRL Board committee updates, and also
discuss some of the happenings from the recently concluded January ARRL
Board meeting. The official meeting minutes were just released, and both
a summary and the actual minutes are available at:
(The actual minutes are via a link at the bottom of the page.)

There were several important Board actions that occurred in the Board
meeting. The most controversial was the Board’s decision not to renew
the contract of our ARRL CEO, Dr. Howard Michel, for another year. I
have received many e-mails regarding this decision, both in full support
of the decision, and from those that supported him, or at least wanted
to know “why?” I can tell you the Board’s decision not to renew
Howard’s contract was not taken lightly, and there were many factors
that developed over the course of the last year that resulted in the
decision. For me, (I can’t speak for the rest of the Board), it’s
mostly about a failed trust relationship between the CEO and the ARRL
Board. Dr. Michel was hired by a Board that existed in 2018, and in my
opinion, did not mesh well with the current Board. Both the CEO and
Board have to work with synergy as a team, and it seemed the mutual
faith that was required to accomplish this goal eroded over time,
starting right after his hiring. It’s interesting to note that the
vote was nine to six NOT to renew his contract, and the six that voted
in favor were mostly six of the same Directors that voted to hire him in

  1. The difference in outcome this time around was the new make-up of
    the Board that occurred last year. In the interest of transparency, I
    will tell you that I was part of the majority in the decision not to
    renew the contract.

Here is one of my issues that led to that decision: The ARRL CEO reports
to the collective Board, and his or her primary responsibility is not to
be the “30,000 foot” singular visionary of the League, it’s to run
ARRL Inc. successfully as a non-profit for the benefit of members and
amateur radio as a whole. This is not Apple and Steve Jobs. In fact, the
ARRL mission and vision are key elements of the League’s Strategic
Plan, which the CEO and their team at HQ is responsible for
implementing. Running the ARRL also requires business acumen,
follow-through, and (as mentioned earlier), the ability to communicate
well with the Board as part of a synergistic team. The view from 30,000
feet is great, but it helps if one can get their feet on the ground,
communicate, and run a successful business. Unfortunately, there’s a
lot more I can say here that may come out over time, but due to
employee/employer confidentiality and the possibility of litigation I
cannot discuss more at this time.

In the meantime, Barry Shelly, N1VXY, has graciously been brought out of
retirement to “mind the store” until a permanent replacement CEO is
found. Barry was brought in because of his unique ability to jump right
in as a former ARRL CFO and CEO, and keep the ARRL ship afloat and
moving along without interruption. No, he’s not really an “active
amateur”, as some have pointed out, (neither was Dr. Michel), however,
in this case it doesn’t matter. We’re very lucky to have him back in
this temporary position, and he’s communicating very well with the
Board and HQ staff.

There has been a new CEO search Board committee formed, and they fully
realize and understand the urgency of getting a permanent person in
quickly. Controversial issues that plagued the last CEO search effort,
such as only allowing the full Board to vote on the committee’s final
pick, and not allowing the full Board to even know who the other
finalists were, have been fixed this time around. The selection process
is now much more transparent to those of us not on the committee, and
the search committee will be presenting a “short list” of candidates
for the full Board to consider.

For those that appreciated the direction the ARRL was taking under Dr.
Michel, the bottom line is that absolutely nothing is going to change.
The Board and staff at ARRL HQ will continue to enhance programs for
members and the amateur community in accordance with our Strategic Plan, and the ARRL will continue to evolve towards the future as it faces
challenges ahead. The Board/CEO relationship must be a tight
partnership, with lots of interaction and learning in both directions.
The development of vision and strategy has to be the joint, honest
effort of both the ARRL board and CEO. I am fully expecting the
committee to provide a slate of candidates that meet that important

Speaking of strategic plans, the motion mentioned in my newsletter last
month to update the current plan was submitted for consideration, and
summarily approved. ARRL President Roderick, K5UR, is now tasked to
establish a new ad-hoc committee to begin work on an updated plan, and
one that is more complete. Our current one,
(, technically expires at the
end of this year, and now it’s time to work on an updated plan that
maps out an agenda for the future of the League. At this point the
committee has not yet been appointed, and my guess is that it won’t be
until a permanent CEO is hired. The new CEO not only has to provide
strategic input and vision as vital parts of the plan, but in the end
will have to both own it, and his or her performance measured by its

There was another important board motion passed that I had been working
on, in conjunction with the Board’s Ethics and Elections Committee,
since last July. The motion involves revisions to the ARRL Division
Director and Section Manager Election rules to widen timelines, provides
clarifications on ethical standards for campaign activities, and is
intended to reduce abuses of these standards by candidates. This is
especially in regards to incumbents, which have access to materials not
available to challengers. There will be a bit more on that particular
motion here next month.

The HF Band Planning committee finally wrapped up its work within the
last few weeks and is done, at least for now. We have submitted our
final report regarding proposed changes to HF digital allocations to the
ARRL Board, and the next step is the call for member comments BEFORE the proposals are given to our FCC legal counsel for submittal. Yes, as
promised, you get a chance to provide feedback!

I encourage everybody to take a look at the new proposed HF band plans,
and please provide your feedback as soon as possible. Due to the urgency
in getting this submitted to the FCC quickly, (per their request), this
opportunity for member input has a narrow timeline. The link to the
comment page is:
I personally think the committee did a great job of coming up with a
reasonable plan that accommodates both legacy and future users of the HF
digital spectrum, and not just because I’m on the committee!

On the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) front, there was a new
committee formed during the last Board meeting that was given the
responsibility for vetting candidates for the important “ARRL Director
of Emergency Management” position at HQ that has been languishing
since last January under Dr. Michel. There were about 50 candidates that
submitted resumes, and the committee’s job is to whittle that list
down to the top three to five candidates, interview them, and get the
right person on-board as soon as possible. The new Director will not
only head up the very important ARES program, they will also be
providing C-level interfacing with our ARRL strategic partners in the
emergency communications arena.

For those that are interested; For 2020 I’m still on the Board’s
Program and Services Committee, and remain on the HF Band Planning
ad-hoc committee. I was also newly assigned to the Board’s Ethics and
Elections committee, (my “reward” for updating the rules, I guess),
the Emergency Management Director Selection Committee, and was assigned to be the new DX Advisory Committee (DXAC) Board Liaison. Along with my ARRL Foundation work with scholarships, and as a member of a new ad-hoc steering committee for the Foundation, I’m keeping very busy this

I hope to see everybody at the Salem Hamfest at Rickreall on Saturday.
Come by the ARRL booth there and let me know what you think. I accept
both compliments and flames!


Mike Ritz, W7VO
ARRL NW Division Director

Now, to hear from your Vice Director, Mark Tharp, KB7HDX

Diary of the Vice Director, Volume 2, February 2020

Wow, how is It already February? Time is flying by much faster than I
like. Seems like in the blink of an eye another month has gone by.

January Board of Directors meeting:

Mike and I survived another January Board meeting in Connecticut. This
time without any flight delays! Well, none that really mattered anyway.
The final minutes of that meeting were sent out for approval as I write
this so may be posted before this newsletter. It is a somewhat
time-consuming process for the board to approve them with close to 40
people potentially offering input.

I’m pleased to report President Rodrick re-appointed me to the ARISS
committee (as Chair this year) as well as the Legal Defense and
assistance committee. Both have had some activity since the meeting and
we are looking to possibly expand the charter of the LDaC to include
more than just tower issues. More on that at a later date.

January saw the release of the new ARRL publication, “On the Air”
and it has been a hit with new licensees and new members. It’s
available to ALL ARRL members electronically the same as QST. You can
also opt to receive one or the other in print form with your

Another member benefit that came online last month were new
formatted forums. Seven (if I counted right) groups now exist that you
can join and participate in. ARRL-LoTW, ARRL-IARU, ARRL-Awards,
ARRL-Contesting, ARRL-NewHams, ARRL-Regulatory-Aff, and
ARRL-Antenna-Law, all at More information can be found here: and you can go directly to them here:

Hamfest/Convention season is upon us, and I hope to see many of you in
person. Events I have on the list to attend are: Salem Hamfair 2/15,
Mike and Key 3/7, Yakima Hamfest 4/18, Comm Academy 4/25, River Radio
campout 5/16, SEA-PAC 6/5, Wenatchee Hamfest 6/12, PNW DX Convention
8/7, Digital summer gathering (Valley Camp) 9/11, Spokane Hamfest 9/26,
and perhaps the PNW VHF convention in October. Others will come up I’m

If you are on the organizing committee for your event, please get that
information into the league and to Lynn, N7CFO for inclusion on his
webpage at . The go to site for
Northwestern Division Events. (this is also linked from the NW Division
website at:

Division statistics:
110 new licenses issued and 36 upgraded licenses.
12,510 ARRL members in Division (+ 1.3% from 2019)
146 Active ARRL affiliated clubs.

“The Membership Challenge”, my monthly plug… again…

Out of all the amateur radio folks you know who are not league members,
get one of them to join, just one, not 20, but one. This challenge
started after the Northwestern Division Convention, also known as
SEA-PAC. That event is now 4 months away. More than enough time to
recruit one more member, grow our league, and make our voice in
Washington that much stronger. To sweeten the deal, I’ll ask that when
you do get another person to join ARRL, send me an email with your name,
and the person who joined. Next July, all those names will go into a
drawing for “A Major Award”. (Yes, that is a reference to “A
Christmas Story”) If you love the league, or take issue with the
league, it’s still our number one voice for retaining our spectrum,
privileges, and continued ability to enjoy this fabulous hobby. This is
not a fund-raising challenge, it’s a membership challenge. Membership
numbers matter when we go to Washington (the East coast one) and work to
enhance our hobby and maintain our spectrum. Let’s work together to
make the league the best it can be.

If you have any questions or input, an email to is the
best way to contact me.

Mark, KB7HDX

Mark J. Tharp, KB7HDX
ARRL Vice Director
Northwestern Division.

ARRL Northwestern Division
Director: Michael T Ritz, W7VO

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