American Radio Relay League

infobox Organization
name = American Radio Relay League

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size = 100px
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abbreviation = ARRL
motto = "The National Association for Amateur Radio"
] . Feb. 13, 2008.]
formation = May, 1914American Radio Relay League (2005). [ "About the ARRL"] . Jan. 5, 2005.]
extinction =
type = Non-profit organization
status =
purpose = Advocacy, Education
headquarters = Newington, Connecticut
location =
region_served = USA
membership = 154,000
language =
leader_title = President
leader_name = Joel Harrison W5ZNAmerican Radio Relay League (2008). [ "Officers of the ARRL"] . Jan. 23, 2008.]
main_organ = Board of DirectorsAmerican Radio Relay League (2008). [ "ARRL Divisions"] . Jan. 29, 2008.]
affiliations = International Amateur Radio Union
num_staff =
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The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) is the largest membership association of amateur radio enthusiasts in the USA. ARRL is a non-profit organization, and was founded in May 1914 by Hiram Percy Maxim of Hartford, Connecticut. The ARRL represents the interests of amateur radio operators before federal regulatory bodies, provides technical advice and assistance to amateur radio enthusiasts, and supports a number of educational programs throughout the country. The ARRL has approximately 152,000 members. In addition to members in the US, the organization claims over 7,000 members in other countries. The ARRL publishes many books and a monthly membership journal called "QST".

The ARRL is the primary representative organization of amateur radio operators to the US government. It performs this function by lobbying the US Congress and the Federal Communications Commission. The ARRL is also the international secretariat of the International Amateur Radio Union, which performs a similar role internationally, advocating for amateur radio interests before the International Telecommunications Union and the World Administrative Radio Conferences.

The organization is governed by a member-elected Board of Directors. Each director serves a three-year term and represents the members within their particular region of the country. The national headquarters facilities are located in Newington, Connecticut. Along with the administrative headquarters, the seven-acre site is home to amateur radio station W1AW. Operational activities are primarily carried out through affiliated field organizations.


The ARRL is governed by a member-elected Board of Directors. The organization divides its membership into 15 Divisions, each representing a separate portion of the country. One Director and one Vice-Directors are elected by members of each Division to serve a three-year term. Director elections are staggered so that approximately one-third of the Directors and Vice Directors are up for election each year. The Board of Directors manages policy direction for the organization as a whole. The Board of Directors appoints an executive management team of 11 officers to manage day-to-day operations of the organization, led by a President and a Chief Executive Officer. These paid officers can hold their positions as long as the Board of Directors approves.

Operational activities of the American Radio Relay League are carried out through a field organization. The organization divides the 15 Division into 71 separate geographic regions called Sections. Each Section has a similar team of one elected Section Manager and several volunteer positions. Section Managers are elected by the members living within the section for a two year term. The Section Manager appoints a team of volunteers including an Affiliated Club Coordinator, Bulletin Manager, Official Observer Coordinator, Public Information Coordinator, Section Emergency Coordinator, Section Traffic Manager, State Government Liaison, and Technical Coordinator. A Section Manager may optionally appoint one or more Assistant Section Managers.American Radio Relay League (2008). [ "The ARRL Field Organization"] . Feb. 1, 2008.]

An important function of the ARRL Field Organization is organizing emergency communications in the event of civil or natural disaster. The ARRL's Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) program is organized through the ARRL Field Organization. Each Section of the Field Organization has an appointed Section Emergency Coordinator. The ARES organization supports training, establishes Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with governmental and relief agencies, and organizes regular practice exercises. In 2005, ARES, with hundreds of volunteer amateur radio operators, provided key communications assistance to recovery organizations and officials coordinating Hurricane Katrina disaster relief. Amateur Radio Emergency Service (2008). [ "Katrina: The Untold Story"] . Retrieved Feb. 14, 2008.]


The American Radio Relay League was founded in May, 1914 by Hiram Percy Maxim of Hartford, Connecticut. Maxim saw a need to build up an organized group of "relay" stations to pass messages via amateur radio. This allowed messages to pass farther than any particular station of the time could reach. The name of the Organization, i.e. American Radio Relay League illustrates these roots to this day.

Amateur Radio was closed down in the US during the first World War I and ARRL was instrumental in getting the US government to remove these restrictions. History repeated itself during World War II with US amateurs being told to leave the air. Again ARRL successfully lobbied Congress to re-authorize Amateur Radio.

Regulatory advocacy

The ARRL has opposed regulatory support for Broadband over Power Lines, arguing that the power lines will radiate interfering radio energy, impeding amateur radio activities. The League has filed several interference reports with the FCC. The ARRL sued the FCC, claiming that the FCC violated the Administrative Procedure Act in creating its rules pertaining to BPL. On April 25, 2008, a US Court of Appeals agreed with the ARRL that the FCC violated the APA, especially by redacting data from the public that could have shed doubt on the FCC's decision. "It is one thing for the Commission to give notice and make available for comment the studies on which it relied in formulating the rule while explaining its non-reliance on certain parts," D.C. Circuit Judge Judith Rogers wrote. "It is quite another thing to provide notice and an opportunity for comment on only those parts of the studies that the Commission likes best." [ [ FCC dealt setback in broadband-over-power-lines push | Tech news blog - CNET ] ]


The American Radio Relay League offers several services to members that support their on-air operations. For members with an interest in DXing, the organization operates both incoming and out-going QSL bureaus for the exchange of QSL cards with stations in other countries. Staff at the organization headquarters maintain and operates station W1AW, the Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Station, as a living memorial to the "Father of Organized Amateur Radio". The W1AW station is used for regular Morse code training transmissions for those wishing to learn. The ARRL/VEC (Volunteer Examiner Coordinator) sponsors amateur radio license examinations for the three classes of amateur license. License classes and examinations are held in various locations throughout the year.


The ARRL provides several publications and journals to both members and non-members. "QST" is the organization's monthly membership journal, named after a Morse code Q signal that means "calling all stations". The organization also publishes two bimonthly magazines of special interest: "QEX" for radio electronics experimenters, and the "National Contest Journal" for contesting enthusiasts. The ARRL publishes various technical books and online courses. Members of the organization also have access to a special Members Only section of the ARRL web site that includes technical documents, expanded product reviews of amateur radio equipment, expanded contesting information, and a searchable database of all league publications. A flagship annual publication, The "Radio Amateur's Handbook", has been published since 1926.


The ARRL sponsors numerous amateur radio contests throughout the year with the biggest of these being November Sweepstakes and the International DX Contest. Other contests and sponsored operating events include Straight Key Night, VHF Sweepstakes, UHF Contest, and 10 GHz and Up Contest. The ARRL also participates as a Headquarters station for the IARU HF World Championship. Field Day is an annual event organized by the ARRL that includes both a competitive element as well as an emphasis on emergency communications readiness and the promotion of amateur radio.


The ARRL is often criticized for acting in its own interests rather than in the interest of the entire amateur radio community. Common criticisms include ARRL's support for less strict licensing requirements in the 2000s, which opponents consider "dumbing down" amateur radio and/or making amateur radio more like CB radio (where critics contend that FCC regulations are generally not followed). Critics claim that the ARRL is doing this for purposes of gaining additional membership.Morrison, Rich (2004). [ "They Just Want to Make More Money..."] "Zero Bias" editorial column. "CQ Amateur Radio". April, 2004.] Others feel, however, that the ARRL was slow to lobby for the removal of or the easing of the Morse code proficiency requirements of the various license classes; that this “conservatism” was keeping many otherwise qualified people out of amateur radio and thus threatening its future. Other criticisms of the organization cite its support for segmentation of the HF amateur bands in the U.S. by bandwidth, rather than by mode, which some claim gives preference to users of the Winlink system.Morrison, Rich (2004). [ "Regulation by Bandwidth"] "Zero Bias" editorial column. "CQ Amateur Radio". November, 2004.]

See also

* Amateur Radio Emergency Service
* International Amateur Radio Union
* National Traffic System
* Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service


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