American Radio Relay League is a national membership association for amateur radio operators in the United States. It is also known as "ARRL, The National Association for Amateur Radio", and was founded in May 1914 by US industrialist Hiram Percy Maxim (W1AW, SK) as the national membership association for US radio amateurs.
ARRL had approximately 157,000 members in January 2010. It's the largest organization of radio amateurs in the United States. ARRL is a not-for-profit organization that:
• promotes interest in amateur radio communications and experimentation
• represents US radio amateurs in legislative matters, and
• maintains fraternalism and a high standard of conduct among Amateur Radio operators.
At ARRL headquarters in the Hartford suburb of Newington, a staff of 120 helps serve the needs of members. ARRL is also international secretariat for the International Amateur Radio Union. IARU is comprised of similar societies in 150 countries around the world.
ARRL publishes the monthly journal, QST, as well as newsletters and many publications covering all aspects of amateur radio. Its headquarters station, W1AW, transmits bulletins of interest to radio amateurs and Morse code practice sessions.
The ARRL also coordinates an extensive field organization, which includes volunteers who provide technical information for radio amateurs and public-service activities. In addition, ARRL represents U.S. amateurs with the Federal Communications Commission and other government agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
ARRL offers membership services on a personal level, such as the ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator Program and a QSL bureau.
Full ARRL membership (available only to licensed radio amateurs) gives members a voice in how the organization is governed.
ARRL policy is set by a board of directors (one from each of 15 divisions). Each year, one-third of the ARRL board of directors stands for election by the full members they represent. Day-to-day operation of ARRL HQ is managed by an executive vice president.
Any interested person may join — an Amateur Radio license is not required for associate membership.
The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) is composed of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes.
Every licensed amateur, regardless of membership in ARRL or any other local or national organization, is eligible to apply for membership in ARES. Training may be required or desired to participate fully in ARES. Hams should inquire at the local level for specific information. Because ARES is an Amateur Radio service, only licensed radio amateurs are eligible for membership. The possession of emergency-powered equipment is desirable, but is not a requirement for membership.
Amateur Radio has a long history of being able to help with both emergency and non-emergency events. 
The seed for amateur radio was planted in the 1890s, when Guglielmo Marconi began his experiments in wireless telegraphy.
Soon he was joined by dozens, then hundreds, of others who were enthusiastic about sending and receiving messages through the air — some with a commercial interest, but others solely out of a love for this new communications medium. The U.S. government began licensing amateur radio operators in 1912.
By 1914, there were thousands of amateur radio operators — hams — in the United States.
Hiram Percy Maxim, a Hartford, Conn., inventor and industrialist, saw the need for an organization to band together the fledgling group of radio experimenters. In May 1914 he founded the American Radio Relay League to meet that need.
ARRL publishes the magazines
- QST (monthly, general amateur interest)
- QEX (bi-monthly, "forum for communications experimenters")
- National Contest Journal (bi-monthly, contesting operation and station tips)
ARRL publishes a wide range of books and operating aids. Among the best known are:
- The ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications, updated most years since 1926. (Formerly published under several titles, such as The Radio Amateurs' Handbook)
- ARRL Antenna Book, published in many editions since 1939
Current publications are available from the ARRL Products Catalog and booksellers.
The ARRL operates the Logbook of the World (LotW) online QSL server and offers various awards, including:
- WAS (Worked All States)
- WAC (Worked All Continents)
- DXCC (DX Century Club, one hundred countries or 'entities' worked)
ARRL, THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR AMATEUR RADIO holds US registered trademarks on the following names or logos:
- A R R L
- ARES / AMATEUR RADIO EMERGENCY SERVICE
- LOTW / LOGBOOK OF THE WORLD
- NCJ / NATIONAL CONTEST JOURNAL
- REPEATER DIRECTORY
ARRL — The national association for amateur radio 225 Main St. Newington CT 06111-1494 Voice: 860-594-0200 Fax: 860-594-0259 Email: email@example.com
Prospective new amateurs call (toll-free): 800-32-NEW HAM (800-326-3942) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.