The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) was founded in May 1914 by Hiram Percy Maxim.
The ARRL serves as the primary representative of Amateur Radio operators (hams) to the US government. It performs this function by lobbying the US Congress and Federal Communications Commission or FCC.
ARRL is run by an elected board of directors who are responsible for setting League Policy. Each director serves a 3-year term and represents the members within their particular region of the US. There is also a field organization of volunteers which are supported by professional league staff.
The Field Organization of the ARRL is organized into 71 "sections" with each section having a "Section Manager." The Section Manager is elected by the members living within his section for a two year term. The Section Manager has several different volunteers which serve as his local cabinet. The Section Emergency Coordinator, Official Observer Coordinator, Technical Coordinator, Section Traffic Manager are some of these cabinet members.
The Section Emergency Coordinator is responsible for the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, or ARES operation within the section. This is the largest single part of the field organization consisting of any volunteer who wishes to help with emergency and Public Service communications. (Participation is not restricted to league members.)
The Technical Coordinator is responsible for assisting local amateurs with technical problems.
The Official Observer Coordinator runs the Amateur Auxiliary program within a section.
The Section Traffic Manager organizes the National Traffic System operations within the section.
The ARRL provides several services to its members including the publishing of QST, the official journal of the ARRL, incoming and out-going QSL bureaus, publishing of technical and training books, sponsoring various contests, and support of the field organization. In addition the ARRL operates station W1AW, the Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station, as a living memorial to the "Father of Organized Amateur Radio". W1AW is located at the ARRL headquarters in Newington, Connecticut. Among its many services, W1AW transmits Morse code for those wishing to learn.
The ARRL's symbol consists of a vertical parallelogram with the initials ARRL arranged in a clockwise fashion around the symbols for antenna, coil and ground to earth.
The ARRL sponsors a multiplicity of contests through-out the year with the biggest of these being Field Day. Generally, the purpose of a contest is to create activity on a given band or group of bands. The basis of competition varies from contacting the most number of people in a given period of time, to contacting the most number of regions (which may be national or international.)
As an example, there are multiple VHF and UHF contests where the purpose is to contact as many "grid squares" as you can. The ARRL uses the six digit form of the Maidenhead Locator System to describe the different grid squares.
In international contests the competition usually involves the number of "countries" you can contact within a given period. For radio competition purposes and various awards programs, countries are not just politically boundaries, but are more related to distance. Even though they are part of the United State, Alaska and Hawaii are considered separate DX countries for competition purposes because of their distance from other geographic and political entities.
Recently, the ARRL has opposed BPL, or Broadband over Power Lines, making the case that the power lines will radiate interfering radio energy, impeding Amateur Radio activities. The League has filed several interference reports with the FCC
Last updated: 05-08-2005 04:52:10