Why I belong to the ARRL (and why all US hams should)
ARRL ARRL -- it used to stand for "American Radio Relay League", but now 'ARRL' is apparently a proper name by itself -- is the national organization for amateur radio operators in the USA.  It has been around since the beginning of amateur radio, and over the years has been the target of a lot of criticism.  Some of it has come from competitors, such as the (now defunct) 73 Magazine, and other organizations that would like to replace it as the spokesman for US amateur radio. 
There's also been criticism from individual hams and groups that disagree with particular positions and decisions taken by ARRL.  For example, in the 1960's, ARRL supported a concept called Incentive Licensing which was ultimately adopted by the FCC.  At that time, General Class operators were allowed all amateur privileges; the Extra Class license was available, but did not confer any additional privileges.  Under Incentive Licensing, Extra and Advanced Class licensees were permitted to use frequencies that were not available to General Class licensees.  The idea was to give hams an incentive to improve their knowledge of theory and code by upgrading.  Unfortunately, the implementation had the effect of reducing the privileges available to current General and Advanced Class operators.  Many hams screamed bloody murder that ARRL had acted to take away frequencies that they had previously had.  It especially annoyed phone operators that there now were phone frequencies that required a 20 wpm code test!  To this day, there are those who refuse to belong to ARRL because of this (for details, see the excellent article by Bill Continelli, W2XOY).

However, there are several good reasons that US amateur radio operators ought to belong to ARRL.

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