• From one of the "ARRL 50" in PR

    From KK4QBN@VERT/KK4QBN to All on Thu Oct 19 01:36:04 2017
    Comments from Ham radio operator NS0S on his experiences in Puerto Rico. The main reason I dont support Red Cross disaster services or the ARRL ham radio organization anymore. The Salvation Army is a better way to go.

    I have had a very rewarding time in Puerto Rico. But there was tons of chaos. I honestly could only control what happened in my circle and in my area. We had lots and lots of issues because of the ARRL leadership here and certain members that came.
    We were chosen to come to support the Red Cross. The Red Cross made 22 of us volunteers. ARRL gave them a list of names of qualified people who asked to come. After two weeks the Red Cross basically said they were done with the ARRL group and said they would not extend the need of our support anymore. The Red Cross is staying. They just don't want the bullshit out group caused anymore. We had tons of freelancers. We only had 22 members go, it was never ever a force of 50. At least 5 of those members decided they would rather be famous than help people. Three of the members completely abandoned the Red Cross and tried to go to FEMA as "liaisons" leaving us with less resources. FEMA already had tons of resources for communication. But, some members from the ARRL group were more concerned about making a name for themself than doing any work. We were promised we would not be sent out alone. Then, they pulled us all back to San Juan to send us out across the island and other islands alone with zero support. There was not even a regular red cross volunteer where I was at.
    Net control would abandon the station at times. I was told they were turning off the volume at times. They were supposed to be there 24 hours a day for emergencies. They started closing at 7pm without notifying anyone of changes. I would call for help and my calls went unanswered. They would not respond to emails for support. They would skip the Red Cross and forward messages directly to FEMA. The Red Cross would be often unaware of issues we faced. The Red Cross weren't informed of request for service from the communities we were in.
    They expected me to pull down my antenna in a thunderstorm off a metal roof. When I was four hours late they emailed me and lied to say they needed me back in San Juan to do a news interview. I had made the Red Cross completely aware of what was going on but the ARRL was acting independently of the Red Cross. I would of never left the island I was on with such haste. The community is still in dire need. The mayor was excited that they might get some exposure to get assistance. This was all a complete lie.
    I had to find a stranger on the ferry and get them to take me. I was basically hitchhiking at 10pm at night because they were acting like immature two year olds. They honestly said they thought they would have to send the MPs to get me. They were in some fantasy world. I am a volunteer and I am in the United States. They thought they could get the military to get me if I quit. These are the same morons trying to make decisions for us.
    I guess they never got the memo that we are in a free country and I am just a volunteer. They were complete amateurs. I know some of the people here on reddit do not know me. I will fill you in on some things. I am a veteran. I was in the 101st Airborne. I was a medic in the Navy Reserves after I got out of the army. I have been a firefighter in the inner city of Kansas City for 13 years. I am very active in Boy Scouts. I volunteer at our Boy Scout camp every year as a medic. I just try to be a nice guy.
    I have zero tolerance for liars or people of poor character. I do not like people with no integrity.
    When I got back to San Juan another member of our group said that the ARRL leaders were upset that I got so much accomplished and they wanted to stop it. I don't even comprehend this logic. I guess they thought I was stealing the limelight. I don't think this is a ARRL problem across the board. I think this is more of an issue with the ARRL members they sent down.
    Some of this might stem from me taking a phone call from Marco Rubio's office to get supplies for the hospital. I am sure the ARRL people were like the red headed step children at the Fema headquarters. I guess they were jealous. I was just trying to be helpful. Fame doesn't really do much for me. We are all just people.
    Another issue we faced was ZERO members from the actual ARRL leadership came down. They were trying to dictate what we did when they had no idea what we were even doing. They weren't there. I guess the stolen valor person who finally came down late might of been from ARRL but I dont know. You can tell they were complete morons in emergency situations.
    One of the ARRL members that was "concerned" that they couldn't get in touch with me said they had tried repeatedly. This was not true. I literally have zero emails from anyone on winlink other than one email saying they wanted me to be at a dock at 1230. There was no repeated attempts. No messages to my personal email. No text. No nothing. Maybe someone here knows someone from winlink to verify my story. I don't lie.
    The last conversation I had with the ARRL members said they didn't want me to tell the Red Cross what had happened because they didnt want to get embarrassed by their behavior.
    The truth is the ARRL jeopardized missions in Puerto Rico. The honestly put lives at risk. There was good things that were done but it was my the average people that wanted to go down to Puerto Rico to help. Not the ARRL leadership that wanted to act like they were some superior group that had saved the whole government from chaos. They really just added to the chaos. I am ashamed to be associated with that group.
    Members of our group could not work as a team. Two members were kicked off their teams because of fights they caused with regular volunteers. One member was almost sent home because of fighting.
    I am not going to publically name anyone. But, I think the ARRL needs to stay away from this in the future. The Red Cross could use Hams again. But, hams need to remember we are their to support the mission. We are just one part of a huge picture. We are not their to make our own missions and go rogue. We pass traffic. We don't coordinate efforts.
    We actually had a member of our group that we found out had paid a VE friend to give him a license. He didn't even know how to use the radio. I honestly don't know how he did it. It pisses me off.
    If there is any question about the hard work I did down there just Google my call sign. It really hurts me to expose them in such a public way but what they did was terrible. It is horrendous.
    My wife has already talked to a local reporter here in Kansas City. They want to talk about this on the news tomorrow. I am debating how far I want to push this.
    Another point is a walked away from those people 24 hours ago after I turned in my equipment. My mission was done. The same people who lied and said they thought I was going rogue or some shit. They said they had a broken arrow. It makes me laugh just to think of them saying this silly stuff. Anyways, still no concerned email. No email asking where in Puerto Rico I am. They have a missing member they don't care about. It pretty much shows they were just upset I was taking the limelight away.
    I will be completely upfront and honest if anyone has any questions. So, ask away. I also really don't care if this is downvoted. I want the people here I consider my friends to be completely aware of what happened down here. Certain ARRL members really embarrassed hams.


    Tim Smith (KK4QBN)

    * Synchronet * KK4QBN BBS - bbs.kk4qbn.com - Chatsworth GA USA