A Monthly Update from the President’s Shack

The new year gave the PRA no time to waste in getting active in 2020. If there is one aspect of the organization that we have going for us, it is the momentum and culture of the organization. What an amazing start to the new year with our membership renewals working virtually flawlessly, thanks to an amazing webmaster in Jeff, AB0L, and levels of support from many different levels of the organization. Committed involvement at all levels of any organization breathes energy, enthusiasm, and life into any group of people.

We kicked off the year with an amazing Winter Field Day. Many have commented that this was the best PRA event ever. Now, the bar is set. Thanks to Stan, N0KKY, and his beautiful wife, they opened up their historic home and property for about 50 PRA members to come out, enjoy the history, demonstrate radio set ups, get on the air, teach each other, and eat some amazing food. This entire event was a testament to the core mission of the PRA in Playing Radio, Having Fun, and Keeping the Squelch Loose. Everyone chipped in to the event in some fashion and it was great to have a bunch of pre-teens check out what ham radio was all about and to get on the air and talk all over the country, including Alaska and Hawaii. Now, that’s what the amateur radio service is all about.

For those of you that are ARRL members, January brought some news that even the more seasoned ARRL members were left scratching their heads. At the January meeting, the ARRL Board decided to not re-elect CEO Howard Michel. Michel has only been on the job for a year. There have been a lot of rumors floating around on the rotating door at the ARRL CEO office.   Here is a breakdown:

“Not a Real Ham” – I have no idea what that comment means. I really don’t care if the CEO is a ham or not; the bottom line is that the ARRL is a multi-million dollar organization and it needs to be ran as such. If/When the PRA gets to that level, I would expect the same out of our membership in having a capable leader at the helm of the ship. However, the rotating door is not giving much to that belief at the ARRL.

“Personnel Reasons” – this is what the ARRL announcement settled upon. One “rumor” floating around is that the newly ousted leader was still involved with his robotics company in China. There are agreements and stipulations in the bylaws where the ARRL is the sole focus of this position. Did that come into play or consideration?  Only the BOD knows, however, the ARRL BOD does not have a preliminary discussion or post vote discussion on the matter. They simply vote to keep the CEO or not.

Bottom line is the ARRL has some explaining to do. This should be a wakeup call to the leadership at all levels of the ARRL and its membership. I feel Howard was bringing a breath of fresh air into Newington and that likely scared a lot of the sacred cows.  The ARRL is in a time of change and unfortunately, some turmoil. If you’re a ARRL member, remember, your vote and nominations count. If the ARRL, or any amateur radio organization for that matter, does not embrace the cultural change of the hobby, let alone how Millennials are perceived and especially how they communicate, we’re all in big trouble. Bottom line is this, Millenials have options and they’re not afraid to use them.

So, how do we embrace the next generation? Easy, just as we do every meeting in greeting new faces, congratulating new licensees or upgrades, offering help to a new ham to learn something, getting involved in a committee…most importantly, keeping an open mind because you might just learn something. As a know-it-all teenager, my father instilled in me a valuable piece of advice, “If you think you’re the expert on something, it is usually good to keep your mouth shut for a while because you’ll likely find out how much of an expert you think you are…or you might learn that you know nothing.” This premise holds true with my position in the PRA and I am so happy with the diversity of backgrounds, ages, knowledge and experience. The absolute best part of the PRA, we embrace differences, we take risks and challenge each other to take the chance in something new, and we always keep encouraging each other.

We have a long way to go, not only as an organization, but as an amateur radio service. We’re making great strides in the PRA and we should never discount how far we’ve come in the last six years. It doesn’t happen by accident, but it took a few accidents to learn, improve, and get us on course. For the PRA, committed involvement at all levels continues to breathe energy, enthusiasm, and life into our organization. Thank you for your involvement in the PRA.

My wish is that our National Organization recognized that times are a changing…or are they?

Dan – N2SRK
Parker Radio Association

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