Tom Frenaye/K1KI for ARRL Director

Hi, I’m Tom Frenaye/K1KI from West Suffield CT (near Springfield MA) and I’m running for election as New England Division Director of the ARRL.  I’ve served as ARRL Director in the past and am currently elected as an ARRL Director Emeritus.

My background

I’ve been licensed since I was 14 years old, thanks to a middle school science teacher.  Amateur Radio has been part of my life ever since!   I’m particularly interested and involved in on-the-air activities.  In high school I focused on DXing and county hunting and worked more than 1500 US counties.   A friend and I started the California QSO Party in the early 1970s. 

After graduate school I took a once in a lifetime job as a communications specialist and spent a year in Palmer Station, Antarctica, also operating as KC4AAC.   Following that, I took the job of contest program manager at ARRL in Newington CT.  During that time, I learned about packet radio, which led to an understanding of computer networks, and a career in information technology at a Hartford-area insurance company where I developed large corporate databases for end user access, managed the new information center and the network control operations.

I was elected as ARRL Director and Vice President until 2018, and also as ARRL Foundation president for ten years.   I’ve also served on several of my town’s boards and commissions, including finance, technology, capital projects, and the planning and zoning commission.  I’ve also served as mayor (First Selectman).   I believe every ham should look for the opportunity to get involved in their town’s government in some way.

In the 1990’s I started a New England effort to get new hams on the air called the Get On The Air Program.   It focused on reaching out to new hams and helping them to get started in ham radio by connecting them to local ham radio clubs.  This program was then adopted by the ARRL as a major addition to Field Day – the Get On The Air (GOTA) station which is perfect for introducing and mentoring new hams on-the-air.

In 2002 I started the New England QSO Party as a way to help encourage on-the-air activity.  Over the last twenty years it has grown to more than 150,000 QSOs made in a weekend and 1100 logs received.

When the World Radiosport Team Championships were held in the Boston area in 2014, I was part of the team that managed the event.  My assignment was to find 50+ locations for teams to operate from, and to build the several hundred volunteers for site management.   I’ve also served as President of the Yankee Clipper Contest Club.  I especially like to operate CW and on 160 meters, and really enjoy building antennas.   I’m looking forward to the improving propagation on the 15 and 10m bands!

What have I accomplished on the ARRL Board in the past? (here are some of them!)

  • Grew ARRL Foundation from 20 scholarships/year to 100 scholarships/year, totaling over $1.4 awarded.
  • Pushed for expanded ARRL Expo at Dayton and other large conventions
  • Stopped Broadband over Powerline (BPL) – ARRL sued FCC and won
  • Helped to ensure state and federal legislation regarding cell phone in cars did not include ham radio
  • Strong support of International Amateur Radio Union to protect ham radio internationally
  • Supported establishment of ARRL Continuing Education program (now the Learning Network)
  • Filed comments with FCC protecting ham bands from commercial interests
  • Strongly supported successful efforts to gain access to 2200m(135 KHz) and 630m (472 KHz) bands in 2017, as well as 60m(5 MHz) in 2002.
  • Chairmen of ARRL Board committees – Administration and Finance, Programs and Services, Ethics and Elections, served on Executive Committee many years, and led Entry Level License Committee
  • Led effort to make ARRL Board and Executive Committee agendas available to members via email ahead of meetings, and distribute meeting minutes afterwards
  • Pushed for new ARRL magazine for newcomers – On The Air
  • Voted to approve making QST available in electronic format as an option (2011)
  • Supported first remote Volunteer Exam sessions using Internet video
  • Supported hardware improvements and programming resources for Logbook of the World
  • Conducted two day long in-person meetings of Section Managers and ARRL club presidents each year to discuss ARRL policies and programs and receive input on local/club issues
  • Supported Amateur Radio Parity Act in Congress to extend PRB-1 protections to condos and HOA owners. 
  • Approved Board action to ask FCC for changes in rules to allow Pactor 4 and similar digital codes
  • Supported ARRL petition to FCC to expand 80m digital band segment

Why run for the ARRL Board

ARRL is at a crossroads and has faltered during the last several years.  There have been five different CEOs in the last five years, many of the key staff members have retired or left the organization.  The ARRL Board has also had a difficult time with inexperience and failure to apply good management to the organization.

I’m running for Director because I’m critical of the way things have been managed by HQ and the Board.  I believe that the right decision is not just to criticize but to step forward and be part of the solution to improve the organization.

The ARRL needs to have a current strategic plan and must focus on improving the League’s relationship with both the FCC and members of Congress.   Amateur radio needs to continue to adapt to the changing technological world, FCC rules need to be modernized. 

Hams need relief from the condominium and homeowner association rules that limit or prohibit reasonable antennas.   During the last three years, no progress has been made on that relief, and actually, the effort has ground to a stop.

The Technician license needs to be modernized so digital modes can be used on HF band segments, not just CW. 

We have to find a way to limit the serious problem with consumer electronic equipment RF interference, and the explosion in noisy solar energy installations.  This will require action by the ARRL, Congress and the FCC, because the current rules are incapable of addressing the RF pollution, and enforcement is nearly non-existent.

ARRL conflict of interest rules for elected officials are not sufficient to deal with many current situations, and I will work to strengthen them.

I’d appreciate your vote in the upcoming ARRL Director election.  Ballots will be mailed out from Newington by October 1st.

If you have any questions at all, please give me a call at 860-597-4539 or email to frenaye@pcnet.com or K1KI@arrl.net

Thanks, and 73!