Northwestern Division Newsletter – Sept 11, 2020

It has been a very busy month for the ARRL Board, with the recent hiring
of Paul Gilbert, KE5ZW, of Cedar Park, TX as the ARRL’s first Director
of Emergency Management, (EM), and the CEO candidate interviews in
Denver, selection and subsequent election of David Minster, NA2AA of
Wayne, NJ as our new CEO. Also in August we were able to complete our
July Board meeting business via a virtual meeting Zoom call. (BTW, the
July Board meeting minutes will be out very soon.)

As a review for some, and perhaps new information for others, below are
some brief bios for each of these new key members of the ARRL senior
management team:

Paul Gilbert, KE5ZW, the new EM Director, brings more than 30 years of
experience in public service in both his professional and amateur radio
endeavors. Beginning with his appointment as Emergency Coordinator in
1987, he has held multiple positions in the ARRL Field Organization.
Currently in his second term as South Texas Section Manager, he has also
served for more than a decade as the West Gulf Division’s Assistant
Director for Public Service, acting as liaison between Division
leadership and local, state, and federal emergency management

Professionally, Gilbert most recently was Radio Officer, HQ Staff, for
the Texas State Guard, where for the past 6 years he has been
responsible for planning and implementation of the organization’s
communications capabilities. Previously he was a Public Safety Radio
Coordinator for a Texas agency, charged with overseeing that
organization’s large-scale disaster communications response and
identifying and eliminating in-state interoperability issues.

In this new and critical role, Gilbert will manage a team responsible
for supporting the ARRL Emergency Communications (EmComm) programs and
services, including the Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) and
National Traffic System (NTS), as well as lead the continued
modernization of those programs in consonance with the future emergency
communications needs of the public and the ARRL’s key partners. It’s
great to finally get an experienced leader at the helm of the ARES®

David Minster, NA2AA, our new ARRL CEO, began his career as a software
engineer, moving into management at Unilever as a Chief Information
Officer of this globally recognized portfolio of brands that includes
Elizabeth Arden Company, Chesebrough-Ponds Canada, Thomas J. Lipton Co.,
and others. From there, he moved to fine jewelry manufacturer and
retailer David Yurman, where he served as COO and CIO. More recently,
Minster served as CEO of jewelry brands Scott Kay and Judith Ripka, and
was Managing Partner at Talentrian Partners, a management consulting
firm serving the consumer goods and luxury goods industries.

In the recent ARRL press release announcing his hire, Minster stated:
“Building a culture of accomplishment and accountability is what I do
best. My initial focus will be working with the Board on establishing
strategic goals and concrete plans to navigate ARRL through the digital
transformation required for the coming decades of its Second Century.
This includes exciting and innovative ways to be engaged in amateur
radio, while growing activity and membership.” Minster went on to
say, “I spend every day of my life, one way or another, engaged in
amateur radio. It is more than just a hobby for me; it is my community.
It is where I live; where I have built lifelong friendships, and
friendships that span the globe. Amateur radio allows me to dream and to
experiment. I can’t wait to bring my energy and boundless enthusiasm
in service to ARRL.”

So, exactly what do I think of our new ARRL CEO? There were four very
qualified candidates that interviewed in Denver for the position. I’ll
confess that while Minster was not my first choice during the selection
and election process, I’m happy with the end result. In my opinion,
David Minster is much more an active amateur compared to the three
recent CEOs that replaced David Sumner, K1ZZ, after he retired. (Most of
the other final candidates were also very active amateurs.) That will
make David much more accepted among our membership, as he really is
“one of us”. (Look “NA2AA” up on QRZ sometime). He is extremely
passionate about both amateur radio and the League, and that certainly
came out in the short and very structured interview session we had with
him in Denver. While his resume business credentials are very
impressive, after the interview concluded I still had some questions for
David that remained largely unanswered. That kept him from being my
first choice.

You will note in the soon to be released ARRL Board Meeting minutes that
I voted against electing Mr. Minster as CEO though. It wasn’t because
I thought he was a poor choice, it was because I thought the interview
process set up by the Board’s Selection Committee was too structured,
and did not allow for enough in-depth interview questions to make me
fully comfortable with the choice. I had to make this all-important CEO
selection based on about four questions I was allowed to ask each
candidate, and listen to what others asked, all in ten minute blocks
totaling an hour-and-half time-frame for each. I wasn’t the only
Director that felt this was rushed through. A group of four other
Directors tried to get the final election vote delayed for two weeks so
more questions could get answered by David, and us made more comfortable
with the selection. After some lively debate the motion failed and the
vote went on as scheduled.

As a follow-up after Mr. Minster was hired, on September 1st I had about
an hour-long telephone call with David as he was driving home to New
Jersey from meetings with senior staff at ARRL HQ. During the call we
had a very productive discussion about his thoughts regarding the future
of the League, and managing the staff at HQ. David comes from the
“for-profit” corporate world, and he’s now suddenly managing a
non-profit 157,000 member organization, with the seasoned staff and
volunteers at HQ as his team, and a very demanding Board of Directors
for a boss. That requires a different thought process requiring patience
and understanding as part of the overall management style. We also
discussed his thoughts on strategic planning, and touched on a few other
subjects; such as how to improve the League’s donor development
process. Based on that call, I am now convinced that he was a great pick
by the Board. I look forward to working with him to help the ARRL move
forward. His prior tenure as a high level CIO will certainly help bring
more up-to-date technology to HQ.

I sincerely thank Interim CEO Barry Shelley, N1VXY, who has been very
capably filling in since the Board decided not to renew former CEO
Howard Michel’s, (WB2ITX), contract last January. He’s been an
absolute joy to work with the last seven months, and I don’t know how
the ARRL could have survived the induced pandemic stresses placed on the
ARRL organization without his leadership and communication skills,
informing the Board of every twist and turn along the way. Barry now
finally gets to retire permanently back to South Carolina; however, I
did hear a rumor that he’s changing to an unlisted phone number!

Mr. Gilbert has already started to work, (albeit remotely for now), and
Mr. Minster will officially take over as ARRL CEO on September 28th.
Vice Director Tharp and I both wish Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Minster much
success in their new and critical roles as members of the ARRL senior
management team.

Next, as I’m sure you are aware, the FCC recently proposed new fees
for amateur radio licenses. Amateur radio licensees would pay a $50 fee
for each amateur radio license transaction, if the new fees it has
proposed are enacted. Included in the FCC’s fee proposal are
applications for new licenses, renewal and upgrades to existing
licenses, vanity call sign requests, and even for official copies of
amateur licenses. Excluded are applications for administrative updates,
such as changes of address. Want to upgrade your license to Extra, then
upgrade to an Extra-class reserved or vanity call, and get an official
copy of your license to hang on your wall when you’re done? That’ll
be $150 please.

The FCC proposal is contained in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)
in MD Docket 20-270, which was adopted to implement portions of the
“Repack Airwaves Yielding Better Access for Users of Modern Services
Act” of 2018 — the so-called “Ray Baum’s Act.”

The Act requires that the FCC switch from a Congressionally-mandated fee
structure to a cost-based system of assessment. In its NPRM, the FCC
proposed application fees for a broad range of services that use the
FCC’s Universal Licensing System (ULS), including the Amateur Radio
Service that had been excluded by an earlier statute. The 2018 statute
excludes the Amateur Service from annual regulatory fees, but not from
application fees.

I can’t stress enough how much I feel this will hurt the future of
amateur radio, aside from the “sticker shock” aspect of it. For some
of us, $50 is not a whole lot of money, (especially if you consider that
it’s really just $5.00 a year for a 10 year license), but for some
that are struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, or are
students or retirees that maybe aren’t that active, it may be the
difference between staying licensed or not when renewal time comes up
and that $50 becomes due. It could also be the difference between
whether or not a young student becomes a new ham. The ARRL is currently
working with its FCC Legal Counsel, David Siddall, K3ZJ, to prepare an
official rebuttal to the proposed fees, so stay tuned on this one. If
you would like to submit a comment on this proceeding, the website
address is:
Where it asks for: Proceeding(s), type in: 20-270.

Finally, as I write this the morning sky in my part of Oregon is an
eerie tint of dark pale orange, and the Air Quality Index is 325, well
into the “Hazardous for All” level. Yet I am very thankful. There
are thousands of others in our Division and others that are affected
first-hand by the absolutely devastating wildfires all along the West
coast of this country. Entire communities, along with both lives and
livelihoods have been torched off the map in just a matter of days, and
it’s far from over. Unfortunately, I know of at least a few of our
fellow amateurs that have lost everything in these fires, and others
that either came very close to, or still could, lose it all. For many,
the losses are still an unknown until they are allowed to return home to
see what’s left of their lives. If you’ve been affected by these
wildfires, my heart goes out to you, as I’m sure it does from every
amateur in the ARRL NW Division. If you haven’t been, be very thankful
and think of those that are.

These are challenging times, to say the very least. Please continue to
stay safe.

Director, ARRL NW Division

Now, we will hear from our Vice Director, Mark Tharp, KB7HDX

Diary of the Vice Director, Volume 2, September 2020

The last week of August and first part of September are falling right in
line with everything else happening in this year of 2020. More fires
reported in the last few days than we have had in the last 5 plus years
combined. I have not heard of any communication issues however aside
from the occasional power outage. Let’s hope for cooler weather and
less wind to help this year’s fire season come to a close. (Think

ARISS-US and our ARRL committee were pleased to hear time had been set
aside onboard the ISS in orbit to install the first part of the new
radio station. This has been a five-year process with tasks ranging from
having the Kenwood D710GA radio “modified” for use in space, the
design, building and testing of a new power supply system, and finding
room from NASA to get it off the ground and finally time to install. The
current configuration is in crossband mode with a 2-meter uplink and
70-centimeter downlink. Initial reports show everything working as
planned. The Ericsson radio it replaced was certified in the year 2000
so this is a very overdue upgrade. More information can be found in the
press release on the ARRL web at:

September 19th and 20th will be the Washington State QSO party, also
known as “The Salmon Run”. This event is sponsored by the Western
Washington DX Club and is one of the most fun times of the year on the
air in my opinion. Everyone in Washington is the DX in this event, and
if you are lucky to live in one of our rarer counties, you will be
chased all day. Please see for the rules,
and more information. “See you” on the air!

With limitations still in place due to Covid we continue to have events
cancelling here in the Northwest as well as other places in the country.
Some areas however have managed to hold conventions and hamfests, in
fact the N7YRC group in Yakima has figured out a way to safely hold its
second annual tailgate swap meet. Information can be found here:

Division statistics:

290 new licenses issued and 59 upgraded licenses.
12,618 ARRL members in Division (+ 2.0% from 2019)
147 Active ARRL affiliated clubs.

For those who were curious, and if not, I’ll tell you anyway, the
Northwestern Division is the third largest by membership in the ARRL
with 12,618 members. We are only 78 behind the Atlantic Division with
12,696. The largest, again by membership numbers, is the Southeast
Division with 15,346 which includes Florida and all the snowbirds who
have become permanent residents of that state. Florida has 8,932 ARRL
members which is over half of the entire Division. Our Division
continues to grow at a small percent almost every month and that
requires and demands a big THANK YOU to all of you. Without your
individual help and the continued assistance from clubs we would not be
growing like we are.

Although the membership drive from last year is over it would be great
if President Rodrick could announce at the January board meeting the
Northwestern division had taken over the number two spot. Don’t get me
wrong here, it’s not a numbers game but we must continue building and
growing our membership to fund and support all the various award
programs, scholarships, legislative actions, and on occasion even
helping hams with tower zoning matters. If you know ham friends who are
not members, please encourage them to join. With close to 300 new
licensed amateurs each month in the NW we should be able to take the
second spot with ease.

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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