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Amateur Radio Relay League; an organization of and for ham radio operators with headquarters in Newington, CT. For decades has published the journal or magazine QST, which has a wealth of information on everything from building antennas to participating in international contests and competitions to experimenting with the latest radio technology.

Many non-hams think that the FCC controls the administration of amateur radio in the United States. In actuality the American Radio Relay League or ARRL adminstrates the hobby as a quasi-governmental agency.

First, the "traditional" name for the organization comes from the original intent of providing relays for stations operating under very contrived conditions. Stations transmitted CW or morse code using spark generators producing insane voltage; frequencies were well into the longwave range, 200 meters and below in wavelength. With all the stations and interference, signals could pierce five to fifteen miles (8 - 24 km) or so. Mind you this is in the Great War era, so the embryonic ARRL had to keep the hobby alive during restricted operations as it did in World War II. Unfortunately, the American Radio Relay League dropped its formal title a few years ago because of "name recognition with the general public." Also, most new amateur operators will never touch a code key in their ham careers. The old title survives only in a legal context.

ARRL administers the vast majority of licensing exams. The organization also does most of the Washington legislative lobbying. Many other national amateur radio clubs have accused ARRL of running international amateur policy as well, setting frequency guidelines and laws. Almost every nation has adopted the ARRL general structure as well as even a variant of the ARRL "diamond" logo.

A lot of hams say that ARRL is dying since it focuses on the "old guard" operators who operate HF (shortwave frequencies) only. Most new hams operate above 50 MHz exclusively. QST now features more articles focused on non-morse-code hams, but is reluctant to drop the technical articles that made the magazine famous. But, if you're in Newington, CT, drop in, see, and operate W1AW, ARRL's huge transmission station.

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