Dan Brown, W1DAN
34 Felch Road
Natick, MA 01760-1202
Email: danbrownw1dan (at) gmail dot com
“Advancement of the radio art” is a profound obligation we must meet in the Amateur Radio service under the rules of the FCC. One of the ways in which the ARRL fulfills this obligation is through its ARRL Lab. The Lab provides members with:
- technical information services
- trusted product-review testing
- spectrum-protection engineering
- professional industry contact
- a comprehensive RFI/EMC program
The League’s field organization also registers tech-savvy volunteers to serve as local Technical Specialists (TSs). If you require assistance with a technical matter, inquire at your local club, or through a Technical Specialist. If you cannot locate one, contact the Eastern Massachusetts Technical Coordinator.
As our lives become filled with technology, the likelihood of electronic interference increases. Every lamp dimmer, garage door opener or other new technical “toy” contributes to the electrical noise around us. Many of these devices also “listen” to that growing noise and may react unpredictably to their electronic neighbors, including Amateur Radio transmitters.
Sooner or later, nearly every active Amateur Radio operator will have a problem with interference. This could involve interference to a neighbor’s equipment, or, more likely, some form of interference to Amateur Radio from the noisy devices that can sometimes even be found in our own homes. The good news is that most cases of interference can be cured! The proper use of “diplomacy” skills to communicate with a neighbor and standard technical cures will usually solve the problem. [ARRL Web]
The wave of software-based digital modes over the past several years has altered the atmosphere of the HF bands. Some suggest the popularity of modes that make it possible to contact stations neither operator can even hear has resulted in fewer CW and SSB signals on bands like 6 meters and 160 meters. Traditional modes require far more interaction and effort on the part of the operator; the newer digital modes not so much. The recent advent of the still-beta “quick” FT8 mode, developed by Steve Franke, K9AN, and Joe Taylor, K1JT — the “F” and the “T” in the mode’s moniker — has brought this to a head. [via “New Digital Modes Changing Complexion of Bands and Perhaps of Ham Radio”, ARRL News, 11/02/2017]
Technical Coordinator Description
The ARRL Technical Coordinator (TC) is a section-level official appointed by the Section Manager to coordinate Technical Specialists and all technical activities within the section. The TC reports to the Section Manager and is expected to maintain contact with other section-level appointees as appropriate to insure a unified ARRL Field Organization within the section.
Requirements: Novice class license or higher; Full ARRL membership
- Supervise and coordinate the work of the section’s Technical Specialists.
- Encourage amateurs in the section to share their technical achievements with others through the pages of QST, and at club meetings, hamfests and conventions.
- Promote technical advances and experimentation at vhf/uhf and with specialized modes, and work closely with enthusiasts in these fields within the section.
- Serve as an advisor to radio clubs that sponsor training programs for obtaining amateur licenses or upgraded licenses in cooperation with the ARRL Affiliated Club Coordinator.
- In times of emergency or disaster, function as the coordinator for establishing an array of equipment for communications use and be available to supply technical expertise to government and relief agencies to set up emergency communications networks, in cooperation with the ARRL Section Emergency Coordinator.
- Refer amateurs in the section who need technical advice to local TS.
- Encourage clubs to develop, and TS to serve on, RFI and TVI committees in the section for the purpose of rendering technical assistance as needed.
- Be available to assist local technical program committees in arranging suitable programs for ARRL hamfests and conventions.
- Convey the views of section amateurs and TSs about the technical contents of QST and ARRL books to ARRL HQ. Suggestions for improvements should also be called to the attention of the ARRL HQ technical staff.
- Work with the appointed ARRL TAs (technical advisors) when called upon.
- Be available to give technical talks at club meetings, hamfests and conventions in the section.
Technical Specialist Description
For a section team to be effective in one of the most important arenas in Amateur Radio, technology, there must be a cadre of qualified, competent Technical Specialists (TS).
Appointment by the Section Manager (SM), or Technical Coordinator (TC) under delegated authority from the SM, the TS supports the TC in two main areas of responsibility: Radio Frequency Interference, and Technical Information. TS can specialize in certain specific technical areas, or can be generalists.
Requirements: Novice class license or higher; Full ARRL membership.
- Serve as a technical advisor to local hams and clubs. Correspond by telephone and letter on tech topics. Refer correspondents to other sources if specific topic is outside TS’s knowledge.
- Serve as advisor in radio frequency interference issues. RFI can drive a wedge in neighbor and city relations. It will be the TS with a cool head who will resolve problems. Local hams will come to you for guidance in dealing with interference problems.
- Speak at local clubs on popular tech topics. Let local clubs know you’re available and willing.
- Represent ARRL at technical symposiums in industry; serve on CATV advisory committees; advise municipal governments on technical matters.
- Work with other ARRL officials and appointees when called upon for technical advice, especially in emergency communications situations where technical prowess can mean the difference in getting a communications system up and running, the difference between life and death.
- Handle other miscellaneous technically-related tasks assigned by the Technical Coordinator.