ARRL Volunteer Resources Committee Report: STM’s Comments

Jim Ward, N1LKJJim Ward, N1LKJ writes:

I found the VRC Report regarding traffic disturbing.

We all know that since the inception of electronic mail, traffic handling has been seriously effected. When I first got into traffic handling and later, became Net Manager of Boston’s Eastern Massachusetts Two Meter Net, we used to average 400 checkins per month. After more and more hams got into the computer age, the checkins dropped to about 280 each month. Checkins have remained at that figure ever since.

There is no question that e-mail has hurt, but hams have stepped forward by creating messages like welcoming new hams to the hobby. How can anyone find these message offensive and label them “canned traffic,” “crap traffic,” etc.? They’re missing an opportunity to deliver this traffic and welcome a new ham to the hobby. They’re missing an opportunity to talk to a new ham and tell him or her about local clubs, the ARRL, ARES, and RACES. There was even one SM who complained about birthday and holiday traffic. I guess Scrooge and the Mad Hatter still live.

Gil, W1GMF, one of the stations who originates “welcome to ham radio” traffic receives hundreds of messages from hams to whom this traffic is delivered. The hams thank him for sending it. STMs from all over the country have thanked Gil for what he and other hams like him are doing. Sure, there are a few disgruntled STMs–but they very much in the minority.

The NTS is alive and well. It remains a training place for ARES and RACES operators to enhance their skills in copying, sending and acting as a Net Control Station. I can only speak for my area of operation. The local nets, the First Region Net and the Eastern Area Net are all handling a lot of traffic by dedicated traffic handlers.

To those who wish to “bury us” I would say, “You are a little premature.”

Jim Ward N1LKJ

ARRL Section Traffic Manager,
Eastern Massachusetts Section

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