Correspondence submitted to QST magazine
----- Original Message -----
From: Bill Slayman
Sent: Saturday, October 25, 2003 7:25 AM
Subject: Spectrum Protection Act (Correspondence Column)
I have recently written to my Senators and Congressman asking them to sign on as co-sponsors for the Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Bills, currently in the House and Senate. All three signed on during the last Congress so I thought that they would do so for the current session's bills. I was shocked when I received their replies, which were very noncommittal, and thanked me for my letter then went on to say if it comes to a vote before the full Senate or House they will take my opinion into consideration. This is a far cry from co-sponsor status and upon checking to determine why the turn around happened, I was informed that the amount of interest on the subject (translate letters) did not justify signing on as a co-sponsor at this time. By my very rough calculations extrapolating from numbers provided (wild guess) fewer than 1% of all Amateurs have written.
Years ago the Amateur Service had only one Band on which to operate, it was everything above 200 Meters, which by today's standards is the legendary D.C. to daylight. We had ALL frequencies above 200 Meters because it was thought that those frequencies were worthless. Now we have narrow bands, and even they are under constant attack by commercial interests who think what they want to do with our frequencies is more important than the Amateur Service.
The league does lobby Congress, and the FCC on our behalf, but as any politician will tell you, hearing from the people back home carries a lot more weight than any lobby could dream of, especially when large numbers of voters say the same thing. Like it or not, this is our democracy in action and our combined individual efforts will do more good than anything the league does and conversely our lack of effort (translate lack of interest) undermines the legitimacy of the league and will do more damage than we may be willing to accept. If all of us do not get off our collective complacent, lazy, fat, rear ends and do something positive as individuals to preserve our frequencies we will have none to use and it will entirely our fault, when our station equipment, licenses and hobby become worthless. On the other hand, think of the impact that over 600,000 letters, faxes and e-mails would have on the attitudes of our representatives in Washington.
We have all studied and worked hard to obtain our licenses, and have invested considerable amounts of money in our hobby therefore, I think that taking an hour to write your Senators and Congressman, is a very small thing to ask. If you do not have their addresses they are available on the internet at www.senate.gov or www.house.gov. OUR INDIVIDUAL LETTERS WILL HELP PRESERVE OUR FREQUENCIES, PLEASE WRITE YOUR SENATORS AND CONGRESSMAN or CONGRESSWOMAN TODAY.