Presidentís Comments

April 2000

Y2K is here, and except for the repeater controllers that didnít know what Century it was, the event has come with little effect on the 220 MHz. Band. For the most part, it hasnít had much of an effect on the 220SMA either. The January elections resulted in most of the Association Officers being re-elected, despite an appeal for some new blood to step forward, and the 222 MHz. Coordination Board composition hasnít changed.

Depending upon your outlook, maybe this status quo is good. Certainly there have been years in the past when we were wishing that things could be so stable. Iím afraid though that these are negative signs rather than positive ones, and I want to share some of my thoughts and concerns with you.

As I have indicated to you before, I think the 220SMA must continuously move forward or become out of date and unable to serve the needs of our Amateur Radio community. Service is what we are all about, both as a Spectrum Management organization and as a frequency coordinator. In order to effectively serve the community, we must be a viable organization. Not only must we be able to perform the tasks necessary to our function, but we must also represent the community. I have spoken for some time about our shrinking ranks, and the need for each of us to commit to bringing at least one more 220 MHz. operator into the membership. Recent FCC positions regarding enforcement have demonstrated once again how important it is that we determine our own rules or else we will have no say in determining our eventual fate. We need membership and member involvement for that to happen.

The first challenge we face this year is the lack of an Association Treasurer. The problem is really an even larger one since no one would even run for the office of President, but I have agreed to try and fill that position for one more year despite a work schedule that takes me out of the State much of the time. The individual, who in January very tentatively relented and accepted the post of Treasurer, found it necessary to resign in February. Attempts to identify another member willing to accept the position have so far proved futile. One of our more important actions at the April meeting will be to elect a Treasurer.

I could go on and discuss the other areas where more involvement is needed (band planning, coordination procedures, process improvement, data base management, formal documentation, educational programs, etc.), but I'll let you can read my Comments from the last few years rather than belabor the details here. Most of these tasks have gone undone because we could not find volunteers. The important thing to recognize is that this situation has become critical.

The 220SMA is not the only Amateur organization facing these problems. Amateur clubs and repeater groups are beginning to fall by the way also. The ARRL Executive Vice President discussed this issue recently in his monthly editorial. Approximately two years ago I suggested that we needed to consider how the modern world is dealing with these kinds of problems. I suggested at that time that "mergers" were often the answer to staying viable in the light of limited resources. I brought up the idea of investigating how TASMA and we might benefit by consolidating. In general, the membership reaction was negative but still no one has come forward to alleviate the problem.

Last year I volunteered to serve as the TASMA Treasurer and be on TASMA's Board of Directors with the intent of investigating the merger concept further. TASMA had already found themselves in the position of being unable to field a slate of Officers and the Association was about to fail. Although the general reaction within TASMA is similar to that within the 220SMA, the TASMA Board has now designated their Chairman and me to study the issue further and propose a solution. It has also been discussed that TASMA might combine with SCRRBA, and although I would like to see such a consolidation sometime in the future, the philosophies of the Associations are so different at this point that I believe it will take some work before that is a desirable avenue.

On a positive note in this area, the TASMA Board has selected me to serve as their primary representative at the proposed NFCC face-to-face meeting to be held later this year. The agreement is that TASMA and the 220SMA would share the costs of my attending.

I believe it is critical that we hold our repeater coordination groups together. What do you think? Please be in attendance at our April 15th 2nd Quarter Meeting in Thousand Oaks. There are a lot of things going on that weekend and you are needed so we can make quorum. We need your vote and I need your feedback.

Jim Fortney, K6IYK P.O. Box 3419, Camarillo, CA 93011-3419 805-491-3916