Monday, May 13, 2019

ARRL and FCC Move Forward on Volunteer Monitor Program

Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, shown here
on a CQ cover a few years back, will
administer the new ARRL/FCC Volunteer
Monitor program.
The FCC and the ARRL have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will provide for the basic structure of the new Volunteer Monitor program. This new effort to enhance amateur self-regulation will replace the decades-old Official Observer program and more-recently developed FCC Amateur Auxiliary program. According to the ARRL Letter, the program's goal is to "re-energize enforcement efforts" on the ham bands, noting that it was proposed by the FCC itself in the wake of budget cuts that resulted in closing several field offices and reducing the size of the field staff.
The principal difference between the old OO program and the new VM program is that the OO program was administered as part of the ARRL Field Organization, with OOs appointed by Section Managers and/or section OO Coordinators, while the new program will be administered by ARRL headquarters, which will be responsible for vetting and appointing all VM members. In addition, VM notices will be mailed from Newington and will not include the name or call of the reporting volunteer monitor. The ARRL has contracted with retired FCC Special Counsel Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, to administer the program. It is estimated that the VM program will be up and running later this year.