ARRL/FCC Volunteer Monitoring

program is slated to begin next month. This program is to take the place of the expiring Official Observer program. The ARRL and the FCC have been working on this program for the past 2 years in preparation for this transition. The VM program administrator will be K4ZDH Riley Hollingsworth, former special counsel for amateur radio enforcement with the FCC.

Hopefully the problems on 7.200mHz (and a few other frequencies) will begin to be dealt with in a decisive meaningful manner. It is my opinion, and the opinion of others I have spoken with, Ms Laura Smith has failed to serve the amateur community dealing with the handful of misfits that occupy several frequencies in the amateur radio spectrum.


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3 thoughts on “ARRL/FCC Volunteer Monitoring”

  1. ARRL Thanks Official Observers, as Volunteer Monitor Program is Set to Debut

    As the September 30 date for the closing of the Official Observer program nears, ARRL has expressed deep appreciation to the hundreds of volunteers who gave their time as Official Observers (OOs) to help preserve the integrity of the Amateur Radio frequencies.

    The Official Observer program has served the Amateur Radio community and assisted the FCC Enforcement Bureau for more than 85 years. The OO program is giving way to the new Volunteer Monitor (VM) program, established as part of a formal partnership between ARRL and the FCC. ARRL and the FCC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) earlier this year that establishes the Volunteer Monitor program as a successor to the Official Observers. The first Volunteer Monitors should be in place and ready to begin their duties this fall.

    “Thank you for your dedication and service,” ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, said. “It was the good work of the OOs over many years that laid the foundation for the FCC to recommend this new agreement for enforcement.” The FCC proposed the program following the closures of several FCC regional offices and a reduction in field staff.

    Last February, Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, who once handled Amateur Radio enforcement for the FCC, was named to oversee the development and implementation phases of the Volunteer Monitor program.

    Under the new VM program, volunteers trained and vetted by ARRL will monitor the airwaves and gather evidence that could be used to correct misconduct as well as to recognize exemplary on-air operation. ARRL will refer instances of flagrant violation to the FCC for action, in accordance with FCC guidelines, and the FCC will give priority to enforcement cases developed by the VM program.

    Official Observers were invited to apply to become Volunteer Monitors, and many did. The requirements for being a Volunteer Monitor include:

    + Ability to utilize state-of-the-art receiving equipment and to access no-cost remote receive sites; strong writing and communication skills

    + An understanding of the importance of thorough documentation

    + Basic word processing and data entry skills

    + The ability to send such information, including recordings, to ARRL electronically.

    Applicants also must be ARRL members, have no history of FCC enforcement action, hold a Technician or higher license class, and been licensed for at least 3 years.

    Applicants underwent a training and certification program administered by ARRL and were vetted by ARRL through at least one oral interview and a preliminary evaluation by ARRL staff. Volunteer Monitors will serve 3-year terms at the pleasure of ARRL.

  2. I only hope the FCC will do their part in honoring their new agreement with the ARRL because they haven’t done so as far as much needed enforcement since Laura Smith received the appointment as Special Councel for Amateur Radio Rule Enforcement. When it comes to USGS§47CFR Part 97 U.S. Amateur Radio Service Rules & Regulations enforcement she has been about as useful as teats on a bore hog! I served a decade as a ARRL Official Observer until I submitted my resignation on January 2, 2018 and I credit Laura Smith’s inactivity with me making that decision. When she emailed me and stated that if I sent an Advisory Notice to someone, if they deny it the case is closed as far as she was concerned, nevermind the countless monitoring hours I spent or the audio recordings I had submitted to her of operators guilty of intentional and malicious interference to others. I figured if that was the way she felt about it I was only wasting my time so I resigned. If she continues to hold that opinion then the new Volunteer Monitor program won’t help one bit! I only hope that the ARRL and the new Volunteer Monitors aren’t wasting their time as well! Just this ham’s opinion on the subject.

  3. I wholeheartedly agree. I too have been very disappointed with her lack of performance, which IMO has lead us down the path to where we are today. Hopefully it’s not too late to right this ship, with a new Captain at the helm.


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