ARDC Policy for Advisory Committees

This policy was updated on Jan. 26, 2022, from the previously adopted policy by ARDC Board of Directors by a majority vote on Dec. 4, 2020. Please submit questions or revision requests to


Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) is a 501(c)(3) organization that, in 2021, will become a private foundation. As an organization, ARDC has two primary functions:

1. To make grants that, per ARDC’s mission, “support, promote, and enhance digital communication and broader communication science and technology, to promote Amateur Radio, scientific research, experimentation, education, development, open access, and innovation in information and communication technology;” and

2. To manage the remaining 44net address space (aka AMPRNet), which includes:

  • Allocating address space to amateur radio operators around the world, and
  • Maintaining the technical infrastructure for managing the AMPRNet space.

In order to support these goals, ARDC has created two advisory committees: the Grants Advisory Committee (GAC) and the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). The primary role of the GAC is to support the first function, while the primary role of the TAC is to support the second. Both groups are comprised of volunteers.

This document outlines further functions and processes related to ARDC’s Advisory Committees: GAC and TAC.


  • Governance
  • Member Duties
  • Term
  • Qualifications
  • Composition
  • Adding New Members
  • Renewing Terms
  • Departure and Removal
  • Revising this Policy


These Advisory Committees are governed by the Bylaws of Amateur Radio Communications (ARDC) and other applicable laws governing private foundations in the State of California.

Per ARDC’s bylaws:

  • Section 6.3 Advisory and Other Committees. The Board may from time to time create advisory committees and other committees that are not Board committees (collectively, “Other Committees”) as deemed appropriate, consisting of Directors or persons who are not Directors (such as interested professionals, scientists, practitioners, and past directors who represent principal fields of this corporation’s endeavors). Such Other Committees shall not be deemed Board committees and shall not exercise any powers of the Board. Other Committees may be delegated with implementation of certain specified tasks under the direction and control of the Board. Notice of, and procedures for, meetings of Other Committees shall be as prescribed by the chair of each such committee, and meetings of any Other Committee may be called by the Chair of the Board (if there be such an officer), the Board, the President, or the chair of the Other Committee. The term of office for an Other Committee member shall be indefinite or otherwise subject to the Board’s discretion.

The information outlined in this document is intended to compliment the content of this paragraph and the rest of ARDC’s Bylaws, which can be found here:

Member Duties

Members of all Advisory Committees must:

  • Participate in regular meetings;
  • Participate in the mailing lists and other non-meeting communications for topics that would come up between meetings;
  • Suggest and bring up new technologies, processes, etc.;
  • Be willing to be part of subcommittee meetings that would focus on a particular need and offer suggestions and direction;
  • Help identify potential opportunities as they relate to supporting ARDC’s mission;
  • Help identify potential future qualified Advisory Committee members, particularly in support of Advisory Committee composition goals, which include international representation as well as representation by women, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other underrepresented groups.

Committee-Specific Duties


  • Review and provide advice to the Board regarding inbound grant proposals and other grantmaking opportunities.


  • Review proposals and plans related to 44net technology, architecture, and policy.


Advisory Committees may include subcommittees, created in order to address a specific need. For example, the ARDC board may assemble a subcommittee in order to develop a request for proposal (RFP) and review grant proposals related to a particular subject matter area (i.e. mesh network protocols).


Advisory Committee members are generally asked to serve until the end of the calendar year in which they started. At the end of the calendar year, the Board will evaluate existing committee members and determine whether to ask those existing members to continue for another calendar year, as well as add new members as necessary (as described in the Adding New Members section below).

Special Advisory Subcommittee Members. Members brought on to be a part of a specific subcommittee may be asked to engage for a variable period of time, depending on the need of that subcommittee. For example, an education grant evaluation subcommittee member may serve a 3-month term beginning Sept. 1 and ending Nov. 30.

3-year term limits followed by 1-year pause. 1-year terms may be renewed for a total of 3 terms. After that point, an Advisory Committee member must take one year off. They may be nominated for an Advisory Committee role at the end of that off year. At that point, they may serve up to three more terms before needing to take another break, and so on.

No presumptive renewal. Renewal of terms should not be presumed. Information regarding votes to renew terms and potential conditions for removal may be found in the Renewing Terms and Departure and Removal sections below.


Technical Competency Requirement. In order to be considered for any ARDC Advisory Committee, candidates must possess specific technical competency related to amateur radio and/or digital communications science and technology. This competency must be illustrated through either:

  • Possession of an amateur radio license from any country in the world; and/or
  • Hold a profession related to internet technologies, FCC regulation, or similar that demonstrates expertise with regards to digital communication science and technology.



Advisory Committees may be comprised of no less than two (2) people. The same is true for any Advisory Subcommittees. In Subcommittees, at least one member must be a member of the greater Advisory Committee.

Staff Lead

Each Advisory Committee may include a Staff Lead position.

  • Provide updates on Committee activities to other ARDC staff
  • Provide insight as to the business needs of ARDC
  • Collaborate with Chair to direct Committee activities

The Staff Lead is a non-voting member, except in cases where a tie-breaker is needed.

Staff Lead will be appointed by the Executive Director, and confirmed by the Board of Directors.

Committee Chair

Each Advisory Committee ought to have a Chair. The Chair must be an Advisory Committee member.

Responsibilities. In addition to Advisory Committee Member Duties described above, Chairs are also responsible for:

  • Calling and conducting Advisory Committee meetings,
  • Acting as a proxy for the rest of the Advisory Committee to work with the Board of Directors on policy-related matters, and
  • Conducting research regarding committee member nominations.

Selection. Advisory Committee Chairs are selected by a majority vote of the Board. This vote follows a review with the existing Advisory Committee.

Term. Advisory Committee Chairs are asked to serve until the end of the calendar year for which they have been asked to serve.

Recommended Additions at Advisory Committee Meetings

To support clear communication between different groups within ARDC – particularly between the Board, TAC, GAC, subcommittees, and staff – it is recommended that certain guests be present at advisory committee meetings:

  • a board member (and/or proxy, such as the Executive Director),
  • a representative of other advisory committee(s), and
  • a representative of any other subcommittee (one per subcommittee).

Board members, staff, and special subcommittee members who are not part of the greater Advisory Committee are considered guests of these meetings. They may attend, listen, and advise, but they may not participate in the votes of that Committee.


The GAC has a general meeting to discuss new grant proposals, at a time when there is an active subcommittee for grants related to mesh network protocols (MNP). Ideally in attendance at this meeting are:

  • Regular GAC Members,
  • A single representative of the MNP subcommittee (who is not part of the greater GAC),
  • A board member,
  • The executive director, and
  • A member of the TAC.

A quorum is determined based on the presence of a majority of GAC members.

The regular GAC members may vote on items in the GAC meeting. The Special Subcommittee member, Board member, executive director, and TAC member may listen and advise but may not vote.


Each committee may need to take votes that represent the overall opinion or recommendation of the committee. This especially applies to the GAC voting on grant proposal recommendations to the BOD.

Tie-breaking Votes

In the event of a tie vote, it is the duty of the Staff Lead (or Executive Director if staff lead is not available) to serve as the tiebreaker.

For example, if the GAC committee reaches a 5-5 tie on a proposal, John as the staff lead would add his vote. If John was out sick or had a conflict of interest in the matter, Rosy as the Executive Director would instead make the tiebreaking vote.


Adding New Members

1. Nominations. Anyone may nominate a qualified candidate for a seat on an Advisory Committee, including self-nomination. It is recommended that nominations – along with any supporting materials such as resume, website, or CV – be sent to to ensure inclusion in the nomination process.

2. Nominee research and confirmation of qualifications. Following nomination, an ARDC staff member, director, officer, or Advisory Committee member will research the qualifications and availability of the nominee. This may be done through a combination of:

  • reviewing materials, such as a nominee’s CV, resume, and/or website;
  • email correspondence with the nominee; and/or
  • interview(s) with the nominee.

The results of this investigation will be provided to the ARDC Board for review.

3. Board Review. Following the nominee investigations, the ARDC Board will review the pool of investigated nominees and make a determination of Advisory Committee members they would like to add. If this happens at the end of the calendar year, this review will concur with a review of existing advisory committee members to determine composition for the following year.

4. Advisory Committee Review. Once the Board has made its determination, it will bring those determinations to the Advisory Committee for review, creating an opportunity for Advisory Committee members to provide insight regarding the determination. Following this review, the Board may decide to keep or remove nominees in the pool.

5 Board Vote. Following the Advisory Committee review, the Board votes to add new members to the Advisory Committees.

Departure and Removal

Voluntary Departure. Advisory Committee Members may voluntarily resign at any time, even if is before the end of a term. Notice of departure must be submitted in writing to the Advisory Committee Chair, an ARDC Board member, and/or ARDC’s Executive Director.

Removal. In some cases, it may be required to remove an Advisory Committee member, including the Chair, before the end of their term. Reasons for removal include but are not limited to:

  • Habitual missing of meetings or non-participation;
  • Harassment or other unwanted behavior that persists despite intervention; and/or
  • The result of an investigation indicating conflict of interest or other improper conduct.

In the event of any of the above, the ARDC Board may remove an Advisory Committee member of their post. The Advisory Committee Member will be informed of the decision in writing.

Filing a complaint about an Advisory Committee Member. Anyone may file a complaint about an Advisory Committee member to the Executive Director and/or any member of the ARDC Board of Directors. The Board will then review the complaint and engage in an investigation of the matter, including speaking with all parties concerned. Following the investigation, the Board will vote on whether to remove the Advisory Committee member and/or whether further educational or punitive actions are necessary.

In the event that either the Executive Director or a Board member are a subject of the investigation, they will recuse themselves from deliberation and/or voting on the matter.

Revising this Policy

Revisions to the policy must be approved by the ARDC Board of Directors. If you have a suggestion for a revision, please submit it to