Found­ed in 1914, the Amer­i­can Radio Relay League is the nation­al asso­ci­a­tion for ama­teur radio in the USA. Today, with more than 158,000 mem­bers, ARRL is the largest orga­ni­za­tion of radio ama­teurs in the Unit­ed States.

ARRL not only reflects the com­mit­ment and enthu­si­asm of Amer­i­can hams, but also pro­vides lead­er­ship as the voice of Ama­teur Radio in the USA, whether in deal­ings with the Fed­er­al Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion, the World Radio­com­mu­ni­ca­tion Con­fer­ence, the Inter­na­tion­al Ama­teur Radio Union, or with the gen­er­al pub­lic. The ARRL is the pri­ma­ry source of infor­ma­tion about what is going on in the ham radio world. It pro­vides books, news, sup­port and infor­ma­tion for indi­vid­u­als and clubs, spe­cial oper­at­ing events, all sorts of con­tin­u­ing edu­ca­tion class­es and oth­er ben­e­fits for its mem­bers. Being a mem­ber of the ARRL is impor­tant for hams! The ARRL is devot­ed entire­ly to Ama­teur Radio.


The seed for Ama­teur Radio was plant­ed in the 1890s, when Gugliel­mo Mar­coni began his exper­i­ments in wire­less teleg­ra­phy. Soon he was joined by dozens, then hun­dreds, of oth­ers who were enthu­si­as­tic about send­ing and receiv­ing mes­sages through the air–some with a com­mer­cial inter­est, but oth­ers sole­ly out of a love for this new com­mu­ni­ca­tions medi­um. The Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment began licens­ing Ama­teur Radio oper­a­tors in 1912.


By 1914, there were thou­sands of Ama­teur Radio operators–hams–in the Unit­ed States. Hiram Per­cy Max­im, a lead­ing Hart­ford, Con­necti­cut, inven­tor and indus­tri­al­ist saw the need for an orga­ni­za­tion to band togeth­er this fledg­ling group of radio exper­i­menters. In May 1914 he found­ed the Amer­i­can Radio Relay League (ARRL) to meet that need.


At ARRL head­quar­ters in the Hart­ford sub­urb of New­ing­ton, CT, a staff of 100 helps serve the needs of mem­bers. ARRL is also Inter­na­tion­al Sec­re­tari­at for the Inter­na­tion­al Ama­teur Radio Union, which is made up of sim­i­lar soci­eties in 150 coun­tries around the world.


ARRL pub­lish­es the month­ly jour­nal QST, as well as newslet­ters and many pub­li­ca­tions cov­er­ing all aspects of Ama­teur Radio. Its head­quar­ters sta­tion, W1AW, trans­mits bul­letins of inter­est to radio ama­teurs and Morse code prac­tice ses­sions. The ARRL also coor­di­nates an exten­sive field orga­ni­za­tion, which includes vol­un­teers who pro­vide tech­ni­cal infor­ma­tion for radio ama­teurs and pub­lic-ser­vice activ­i­ties. In addi­tion, ARRL rep­re­sents US ama­teurs with the Fed­er­al Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion and oth­er gov­ern­ment agen­cies in the US and abroad.

Mem­ber­ship in ARRL means much more than receiv­ing QST each month. In addi­tion to the ser­vices already described, ARRL offers mem­ber­ship ser­vices on a per­son­al lev­el, such as the ARRL Vol­un­teer Exam­in­er Coör­di­na­tor Pro­gram and a QSL bureau.


Full ARRL mem­ber­ship (avail­able only to licensed radio ama­teurs) gives you a voice in how the affairs of the orga­ni­za­tion are gov­erned. ARRL pol­i­cy is set by a Board of Direc­tors (one from each of 15 Divi­sions). Each year, one-third of the ARRL Board of Direc­tors stands for elec­tion by the full mem­bers they rep­re­sent. The day-to-day oper­a­tion of ARRL HQ is man­aged by a Chief Exec­u­tive Offi­cer.

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