ARRL CEO Howard Michael (WB2ITX) discusses ARRL future.

Welcome to the Saturday edition of “Big Island ARRL News”.  Views expressed in this amateur/ham radio news article are those of the reporters and correspondents.  Content provided by Bob Witte (K0NR).

Accessed on 26 January 2019, 2045 UTC, Post 850.


Bob Witte (K0NR)

Please scroll down to read Bob’s compete report.

Summary:   A new future is evolving for the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).  On 05 January 2019, newly appointed ARRL CEO Howard Michael (WB2ITX) spoke at the Ham Radio University event and outlined what he believed the ARRL should do maintain its membership, appeal to newly licensed radio amateurs, and remain relevant to the socio-political challenges of the years ahead.

Bob Witte (K0NR) ( offers a video of Howard’s address and discusses the implications of his proposed programs.

Here is the complete text and video from Bob:


The new CEO of the ARRL, Howard Michel /WB2ITX spoke at the Ham Radio University event on January 5, 2019. The video below is worth watching to hear Howard’s thoughts on the role of the ARRL. The first 26 minutes are good, but the Q&A session that follows suffers from no audio coverage of the audience.

HRU keynote speaker 1-5-2019 from autocrime1 on Vimeo.

I think Howard has a tough job ahead of him, leading the ARRL through the start of its Second Century, including some long overdue reinvention. He stated that the ARRL has three roles that must remain in balance: A Membership Association, a Business and a 501c3 Charity. This is an important point that not everyone understands.

Howard also talked about the need for a three-way partnership between ARRL members, local clubs and ARRL staff. This partnership is currently weak and needs an overhaul. Lots of opportunity to improve here and tap into the power of volunteer members and clubs.

The slide below shows the lack of success in attracting new hams to become ARRL members. Howard said “something is wrong with the value proposition.”

The ARRL is not attracting enough new hams into ARRL membership.

This next slide drives the point home that the makeup of ARRL members is very different than the general ham population. The slide is hard to see in my graphic but ARRL members are mostly Extra class and General Class licensees and only a small slice of Technicians. The non-members are dominated by Technician licensees. In some ways, this shouldn’t be a surprise…you’d expect ARRL members to more active in the hobby with a tendency toward obtaining higher class licenses. I don’t recall ever seeing this data before.

ARRL members predominantly hold Extra class licenses, non-members are predominantly Technicians.

Howard talked briefly about some work that is being done to analyze the “Spectrum of Hams.” This seems like a clumsy name to me, but it’s really just classic market segmentation work aimed at understanding groups of users. You clump together users or customers that have similar needs so you can do a better job of serving them. Done correctly, this is important and fundamental work required to enable a customer-driven strategy. OK, I said customer driven, in the ARRL context I should probably say member driven. Same idea. Very important and very fundamental.

Now, the resulting model may be wrong. Someone once said: All models are wrong, some are useful. You build this kind of model, test it, fix it, make it better. Sometimes the insight you get doing the work is actually more important than the model produced. I believe the ARRL has been missing this kind of strategic analysis.

A market segmentation for radio hams.

I am quite encouraged about what Howard is saying. I think he is poking in the right areas and applying the right set of tools. This will be difficult change management for the ARRL, so I don’t expect it will come easy or quickly. But it’s a start.

What do you think?

73 Bob K0NR


Hawaii Island Amateur/Ham Radio notes:

The Kohala Hamakua Radio Club invites you to “The Original Big Island of Hawaii International Swap Meet/Ham Fest on Saturday, 02 February 2019, at the Waimea Community Center.  The event runs between 0930 HST and 1400 HST. The venue includes a swap meet, vendor sales, an EMCOMM forum, guest speakers, and VE testing for new and upgraded amateur radio licenses.  For details, contact Steve Milner (WH6N0 at

The Puna Emergency Radio Club is asking licensed Hawaii Island radio amateurs to support communications for the Sunday, 17 March 2019, Big Island International Marathon in Hilo, Hawaii.  Comms coordinator Sean Fendt (KH6SF) says that the race is “a prime opportunity to practice in-the-field radio skills, learn new operating techniques and network with fellow hams and others who help with the marathon…”  For details, contact Sean at 430-1884 or via email at

Alan Maenchen (AD6E/KH6TU) is now accepting registrations for his April 2019 online CW class.  The current class ends in February, so it’s not too early to join group.  According to Alan, “This is an on-line video chat meeting twice a week for an hour each.  Exact days and time could change depending on student availability.  Since this is an internet based virtual classroom, no commute is needed.  You can do this from home.  Technician class hams can participate and practice their skills on their 80,40, 15, and 10 M allocations.”

For the latest Amateur/Ham Radio news and information, please check the blog sidebars and links.  These news feeds are updated daily and weekly.  Thanks for joining us today.

Aloha es 73 de

Russell Roberts (KH6JRM)

Public Information Coordinator

Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section

Retired News director of Pacific Radio Group Radio Stations on Hawaii-the Big Island. I have more than 40 years of broadcast experience, including positons at KTUH-FM (UH-Manoa), KPOI-FM (Honolulu). KHLO-AM (Hilo), KKBG-FM (KBIG-FM)(Hilo/Kona), KAPA-FM (Hilo-Kona). Native-FM (Hilo-Kona), and ESPN Hawaii (Hilo-Kona). Former University of Hawaii-Hilo librarian. Retired Air Force Officer. Amateur (Ham) Radio operator since 1977 (currently holds the Amateur Extra Class License from the FCC-KH6JRM).... Can read, write, and speak Russian. Retired on 30 September 2011, but still maintains a Hawaii Island News Blog.

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Posted in Amateur/Ham Radio, ARES, ARRL, Big Island ARRL News, Big Island of Hawaii ARRL info, Club Activities, Hawaii Island Amateur Radio Clubs, License preparation/VE testing
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