January 1999

When a new year rolls around it is good to look back and see where you have been, but it is so much more important to look ahead and plan where you are going. I don't know about the rest of you, but once again it seems like another year has just flown by. Did you accomplish everything you wanted to, I know that I certainly did not. There never seems to be enough time no matter how well you plan, but maybe time is not the only problem.

We entered 1998 with some real frustrations. Amateur Radio seemed to lack any real leadership. Despite the good efforts of some of our League Officials, the SWD Director included, the Service didn't have a positive direction and the Community I have talked about so many times before was falling apart. The Coordination Community was really going backward as the new National Frequency Coordinators Council (NFCC) couldn't seem to agree to accomplish much of anything. Enforcement of existing rules by the FCC was at an all time low and those who would take advantage of it were doing so. The good news is that much of this is turning around.

In my opinion, the President of the League, and other League Directors with a positive agenda, are beginning to bring things home. There has also been a lot of support from other leaders in the Service. Both the League and the FCC have proposed changes to the licensing structure, which could help, bring Amateur Radio into the 21st Century. Mode and emission changes are being considered which will help there too. Behind the scene efforts and cooperative FCC staff members have reversed the trend toward unmanaged operation. The NFCC has finally released a draft of proposed rule changes that provide a starting point for recognized and meaningful coordination. The year 1998 may have moved through like the wind, but the breeze from what was started last year will influence us for a long time.

My goal last year to have the 220SMA demonstrate real leadership in the task of gaining Coordinator Recognition within the Amateur Service, and by the FCC, was maybe a little loftier than we were up to, but I am pleased to say that I think we are doing our part in the renaissance. Our breeze is also blowing thanks to the dedicated efforts of several members of the Association who recognize how our piece of the pie fits into the overall picture. I personally want to thank Walt Diem and Dick Matheson for their extra efforts. I pray they stay involved.

When I accepted the role of 220SMA President over eight years ago, I had lots of plans for the organization. I wanted it to truly become a Spectrum Management Association that services the needs of all users on the Band. I still have that goal, but I also now realize that the picture is much bigger and Amateur spectrum management must be a consistent philosophy from top to bottom. I came into this job in the middle of a battle between repeater users. Over the years similar battles, but each in its own form, have existed between high-intensity use applications and lower-intensity use applications, between digital and non-digital users, and between weak signal and non-weak signal users. In every instance, it was a problem of us not communicating well with each other. It wasn't because some didn't try, they certainly did. It was because not enough of us tried all at the same time. Our system didn't work because it was not well enough defined. Our system didn't work because not everyone trusted it. Our system didn't work because not everyone understood it. Our system didn't work because not everyone was willing to use it.

One of the criteria for a successful system is to have all the processes defined and documented so that they are understood and can be performed in a consistent manner. Another is to have a system that is not in conflict with other adjacent systems. I believe that there are now a significant number of us (within the 220SMA, and elsewhere) all working towards that goal. I strongly believe in the approach embodied by the ISO9000 Standards concept. In my view that group of Standards says: 1. Document what you are going to do; 2. Do things the way you have them documented; 3. Let others review your performance to insure you are following your documentation; and 4. Fine tune (adjust) your documentation as better ways are identified (and agreed upon). This concept (along with planning) is what I have tried to promote in our Coordination Boards. This concept is what we are trying to apply in our Process Improvement Committee project and what I hope will be applied as we perform our review of the Band Plan in preparation for the 21st Century.

We weathered the storms I mentioned above, and except for a declining membership problem, the 220SMA is probably in better shape to serve the Amateurs of Southern California than it has been for some time. We do, however, need more of the operators on 222 MHz. to get involved. We need you and we need your friends.

OFFICER ELECTIONS - It is imperative that we have individuals willing to do the several administrative tasks involved in running an organization of this nature. We need new blood. I have held the office of President for a long time and it is now time that I pass this assignment on to someone new. I will continue to be active in the Association, and may even be willing to take on the assignment of Treasurer, or keep the assignment of Webmaster, but everyone needs to come to the January meeting and help determine our new Officers.

This Bulletin is late because we don't have the participation we need. Won't you come be part of the solution?

Please attend the January General Meeting and share your ideas on how we can improve.

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