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K3ZO Letter

Alfred A. Laun III K3ZO
P. O. Box 97
Temple Hills, MD 20757-0097
January 9, 2018

Mr. Thomas Gallagher, NY2RF
Chief Executive Officer
American Radio Relay League
225 Main Street
Newington, CT 06111-1494


Dear Mr. Gallagher:

I am writing to express my concern about recent measures taken by the Board of
Directors (BOD) of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), as well as proposed
changes to the organization’s by-laws at the BOD’s upcoming meeting scheduled
for January 19, 2018.

In my over 40 years as a member of the ARRL and in my 66 years as a licensed
Amateur Radio operator, I cannot recall an instance where so many prominent
Radio Amateurs, as well as some well-known radio clubs, have openly and publicly
registered their opposition to past actions and proposed future actions of the

Southwestern Division Director Dick Norton, N6AA has been a close personal
friend of mine for many years.

I attended the ARRL Forum at the 2017 Visalia DX Convention and I am mystified
at how anyone could have misconstrued what Dick did there as being injurious to
the ARRL. While at my age I often do not recall every detail of what happened
at meetings I attend, to the best of my recollection, the account of that
meeting as provided by Tim Duffy, K3LR is a correct description of what did

The fact that the BOD has chosen to believe an alternate account of what
happened, made by a person who has not had the courage or decency to publicly
identify himself or herself, or to describe in detail exactly what it was that
Dick did or said that warranted censure by the BOD, leads to the natural
conclusion that the whole thing was a setup to begin with. Knowing that Dick
traditionally runs the ARRL Forum each year as well as setting up the ARRL
table, the schemers behind this action knew that he was likely to be the
moderator of the session. The presence of Ethics and Elections Committee
Chairman Tom Frenaye, K1KI at Visalia, a convention he does not normally attend,
also was interesting.

I know Dick well and I recognize that he can be blunt in his assessment of
particular situations. Indeed over the years we have had to agree to disagree
with each other on some matters, such as which contest it is that requires
greater skill on the part of the participants. But I would think that BOD
members would welcome the presence of someone who calls it the way he sees it
and does not beat around the bush about what he is really thinking. This
obvious attempt to set in motion a process by which these schemers can
eventually rid themselves of his annoying presence speaks more to their
insecurities and lack of self-confidence than it does to the validity of their

What has really been very damaging to the League is this action against Dick, as
well as the adoption of the Code of Conduct at the BOD meeting in January of
2017. I am not an attorney, but I do respect the knowledge and capabilities of
several fellow hams who are prominent and successful attorneys, and who have
stated that this Code of Conduct is not an appropriate article of governance for
a member-driven organization such as the ARRL.

I am a professional political scientist. My Foreign Service career was as a
propagandist for the U. S. Government, sent abroad to try to convince leaders in
various Latin American and Southeast Asian countries of the correctness of U. S.
foreign policies. Basically it was a public relations effort. As such, I
became well aware of the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Gag orders such as the new Code of Conduct, where participants in meetings are
constrained from telling ARRL members exactly what happened, end up elevating
unfounded rumors to equal status with true accounts of what really went on.
Before long the situation gets out of control. Foreign dictatorships result to
force and violence in order bring such situations under control. From some of
the measures proposed to be taken at the upcoming BOD meeting, one gets the
impression that some BOD members believe that depriving some ARRL members of
their membership is the way for them to bring this situation under control.

I cannot imagine how certain members of the BOD will possibly be able to enjoy
their attendance at conventions such as Orlando, Dayton and Visalia given this
situation. How can they possibly face members who are upset with these actions
with a straight face?

I urge you, as an experienced CEO, to do what you can to get things at ARRL HQ
back on an even keel.

Thank you very much in advance for your attention to my concerns.


Alfred A. “Fred” Laun III, K3ZO