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Ham Radio Magazines

from John Pawlicki, K8AG on December 30, 2002
View comments about this article!

I believe that having more active licensed radio amateurs contributes to securing amateur radio privileges. I have become aware of two problem situations, however, that I feel have prevented prospective radio amateurs from discovering amateur radio.

I sensed the first situation when I recently went to a hobby store with my brother and his son. I figured that I would pick up one of the ham radio magazines that I don't subscribe to, and look around at some of the other toys. Interestingly the hobby store had magazines on model building, model boats, model aircraft, macramť and animal care. There were publications on, pretty much, any imaginable and unimaginable hobby, yet not one amateur radio magazine. I was annoyed but, then again, I never remembered hobby stores caring much about amateur radio other than to carry the occasional pre-packaged crystal radio kit. I really think amateur radio belongs in hobby shops. After all, ham radio is as interesting as any other activity or pastime.

Now I know that most hobbies don't require a license from the federal government. I also understand that ham radio is, perhaps, a bit more on the technical side than hobby shop owners may be able to deal with. But I wonder if hobby shops might carry some ham merchandise and publications if they could refer questions to a local Elmer or club?

The second situation became apparent the next day when I was in one of the large chain bookstores. Again I went to the magazine rack to look for an amateur radio magazine. This was a major bookstore and I felt I was sure to find one amateur radio magazine. I looked and looked. Again they had magazines on all manner of home improvement, entertainment, pro wrestling and airplane building (both model and full size). Yet they had not one amateur radio magazine of any kind. I was very annoyed.

Why would these stores not carry amateur radio magazines? I'm sure that there are far more amateur radio operators, licensed and SWLs, than people who build their own aircraft at home. Why wouldn't these places carry at least QST, CQ or 73?

Then it suddenly occurred to me. We have no "amateur radio" magazines anymore. I don't mean that there are no magazines that cover amateur radio happenings. But, now that Ham Radio is no longer available, we have no amateur radio magazines or ham radio magazines that call themselves that up front. I know that CQ and 73 magazines have Amateur Radio in their official names, but it isn't foremost in the magazine name. I would like to see Radio Hobbyist or Radio Amateur Connection, or even better, the name Ham Radio used for a magazine again.

Who, other than hams or people who, one time, aspired to be hams might remember CQ or what it means? Fewer still would recognize it as an amateur radio magazine simply from those 2 letters. How many times have people mistaken CQ magazine for a rip off of GQ, or 73 as a magazine for retirees in their second decade of retirement? Potential new radio amateurs might come from the ranks of computer hobbyists. A computer geek, bored with installing the latest version of Linux, might be looking for an alternative technical avenue. But RAM and TCP/IP are their vernacular, not CQ and QST.

I know we have other publications like World Radio (which I think is a superb ham journal). But being realistic, glossy color pictures attract more attention. In addition, stores seem to provide more room for the glossy color magazines. Being in newspaper format, publications like World Radio would need to compete with the likes of the New York Times and USA Today for the limited number of bins suited to that format.

I simply think it is important to put amateur radio up front with all of the other potential pastimes that are available for leisure activities.

Member Comments:
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Ham Radio Magazines  
by KG6AMW on December 8, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I now consider EHAM my main ham radio magazine. Instead of receiving monthly, I get it daily. You mentioned QST, CQ and 73. Don't forget about World Radio.
Ham Radio Magazines  
by K7LZR on December 30, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Is 73 magazine still available?? My local Waldenbooks hasn't carried it for some time now....they used to though. But they do carry CQ.
Ham Radio Magazines  
by WA4PTZ on December 30, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I believe you answered your own question. There are
not enough HAMS who buy or subscribe to most HAM
magazines to be worthwhile to carry in stores and
even most bookstores. Ham Mags have to sell enough
to make a profit, just like any other magazine. Herein
lies the problem, most HAMS are CHEAP! and they will
go together and subscribe or get discards from those
who do subscribe. I knew a postal employee that would
detour the HAM mags long enough for him to read them.
Magazines have a tough time in todays electronic
world. That's why I enjoy e-ham, it is up to date
and I don't have to worry if it has coffee stains.
73 - Tim
Ham Radio Magazines  
by CURMUDGEON on December 30, 2002 Mail this to a friend! is no substitute for QST,CQ,etc.
RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by N4GI on December 30, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Why? No one but us read them, and comparatively speaking we're not that numerous. If I may pose a hypothetical; Why would an outsider pay $3.95 for a book of advertisements to get a few useful articles when it's possible to get a whole lot more of the same useful info on the net for free????

World Radio??? I cringe to think that an outsider might ever find one of those on a shelf.....

Blake N4GI

Ham Radio Magazines  
by AD5X on December 30, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
My local "major" bookstores carry QST and CQ. They used to carry 73, but haven't in several years.

Something I've been doing for several years is to take my old QST, CQ, and WorldRadio magazines to Doctor, Optometrist, and Dental offices and Barbershops when I go. I leave the magazines there. They always have such old, out of date, uninteresting magazines at most of these places that people seem to pick these up quickly.

Phil - AD5X
Ham Radio Magazines  
by KE4MOB on December 30, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I think you are missing the reality of the situation. How many new hams today get started from just looking at a magazine? Very few.

"That was then...this is now." Today, either they know somebody that is a ham, or have researched it on the net. On the magazine front, I would be more concerned about the lack of content, rather than the lack of magazines. QST made a good move in moving the Section News to the internet, but that's a different topic altogether. (By the way, you forgot to mention Communications Quarterly, QEX, and Nuts & Volts...all good ham-related publications).

I remember when I used to dabble in model rairoading..we had Model Railroader and Railroad Model Craftsman. That was pretty much it. So the situation we face in ham radio isn't all that unheard of...

Plus, with the internet taking over a large chunk of our information gathering, magazines are becoming (dare I say) archaic for hobbies like ours? Why wait 3 or 4 months for news to be published in a magazine when its instantaneously dissiminated over the web?

In 20 years paper magazines will be the exception rather than the rule.

Oh, and when you didn't find a ham radio on the shelf, did you go to the counter and ask that the magazine be stocked? Show a demand, and the retailer may just decide to carry it.

Steve, KE4MOB
Ham Radio Magazines  
by AD5GX on December 30, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I have noticed the lack of Amateur Radio magazines while travelling. I usually get magazines at the airport to ease the boredom of waiting. Up until a few years ago I could find ham radio magazines. But for the last few years I haven't seen a single one in many domestic and international airports. As far as the market for the magazines, I don't think the market for people interested in building kit aircraft would be much larger than those interested in reading about amatuer radio. I'm curious as to the actual reason for the lack of our publications in book stores. Our local Barnes and Noble doesn't carry any ham radio magazines, and they carry just about every publication imaginable!
RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by KC7LSP on December 30, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Reply by AD5X,

Something I've been doing for several years is to take my old QST, CQ, and WorldRadio magazines to Doctor, Optometrist, and Dental offices and Barbershops when I go. I leave the magazines there. They always have such old, out of date, uninteresting magazines at most of these places that people seem to pick these up quickly.

GREAT IDEA! I'm goiung to start doing that. Who knows, it just might inspire someone to join the hobby and get licensed. It's much better than letting them stack up for YEARS.
RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by KU4QD on December 30, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
At our local Borders and Barnes & Noble you can find QST, CQ, 73, and sometimes CQ VHF. The problem isn't the magazine titles. The problem is that most of the general public is either unaware of ham radio or else doesn't see why it should interest them. Someone suggested TV commercials (a great idea, IMHO) and was shot down by almost every respondant.

If we want stores to carry ham magazines there has to be demand. If we want more people to join our ranks we need to make a compelling case about why ham radio is more interesting than the many other interesting things available out there. The ham community has been lousy at doing that.

FWIW, ham radio is my #4 hobby, after my ferrets, gardening, and cooking. OK, I'm a female ham so that may be normal, but I've been licensed almost 20 years and I've tried about everything. Perhaps if I could find people on the air to talk to who cared about the things I do (current events, politics, travel, the abovementioned hobbies) or who were willing to discuss issues surrounding being a ham, perhaps I'd be more interested than I am and spend more time on the air.

"You're five by seven in Minnesota. 73" isn't terribly interesting, is it? It isn't even interesting if I'm 5x7 in South Africa. Been there, done that, have the cards to prove it.

73 de Caity, KU4QD
RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by N6QL on December 30, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, more ham radio magazines would be good as long as there aren't more of the same.

When I was a new ham 10 years ago I was extremely frustrated by the lack of good amateur radio magazines to read up on and learn about the hobby.

Just as important was the content of the magazines. Seems like 50% or more of the pages are devoted to contesting and the like and the rest of it is advertisements for HF related gear or useless and petty articles like the recent one in QST (or was it CQ) about the two ex-con hams who are getting their licenses back (I'm glad for them but who cares!?). I use HF most of the time these days but that wasn't the case when I was a new ham.

There were (and are) very few technical articles that would interest the new ham. (Another question is, do they even interest the existing hams? An LED callsign badge seems to be a 1950's kind of homebrew article). I've proposed a couple of articles to CQ and QST on UHF and microwave topics over the years(that I would write) and have been turned down because they were "too technical for our readers and we'll get complaints".

The CQ and QST seem to be catering to the lowest common denominator - older hams who are relatively non-technical and do a lot of contesting. Please, don't flame me, I know there are many very technical hams but the magazine content is what it is. On the other hand, 73 has such a conspiracy paranoia agenda and such weak technical content I don't even bother to pick it up. These magazines will need change the content to broaden the appeal to a larger audience if there is any hope to attract new hams via this media.

We should take a hint from the aviation magazines. I am also a private pilot and have subscribed to many private pilot and homebuilding magazines over the years. They things that kept me coming back were: A. the great articles by experienced private pilots describing some experience they had on a variety of subjects. B. The product reviews and announcements (from a wide range of vendors - not just the big names). C. The technical articles that had relevance to me in terms of the products I own, things I want to build, or skills/knowledge I want to acquire.

These magazines don't spend much space on petty politics, whining about the decline of the hobby, or how some guy has been a pilot for 50 years and he finally won some award that only a narrow audience knows or cares about. They also don't publish lists of people who have died (there must be a better way to honor these folks than the constant stream of silent key announcements). I recall reading these when I was a new ham and it gave me the impression that if they have to have publish sunch a long list of those that have died of advanced age that hamradio must be full of only old people .

Lastly, I should say that I have an 19 year old son who got his ham license when he was 12. He's currently an electrical engineering student at UCSB and very technical but a well rounded kid who plays sports(ice hockey) and is also into music. I used to take him to hamfests, and he used to use the local VHF/UHF repeaters until he got bored with it and also scan through the HF bands to see what was interesting.

These days he has little interest in ham radio because, in his opinion, "it's mostly a bunch of old guys who like to talk and complain". I asked his opinion about this post before I sent it and he added that "our Morse code requirement attracts old guys". He said, "That's obviously what you want or you wouldn't make that a requirement". He went on to say "if ham radio was in the 21st century and wanted to attract new people it would be more focused on modern uses of radio - the kind of things we are dealing with in school and in our jobs". He says "no engineering student I know wants to learn Morse code to join a club. It's like forcing me to learn how to make 2x4's from trees when what I really want to do is build a house". He went on to say "if they only way I can become 'a real ham' is to learn Morse code then I'll wait until I'm old when I have time for something like that".

He's only 19 but it's definitely an interesting perspective on why a young engineering student has given up on the hobby (and doesn't buy ham magazines).

Ron Curry
RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by N3HKN on December 30, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
The 19 year old hit it on the head. "No relevance = No Interest".
Dick N3KN
19 year old engineering student ...  
by KZ1X on December 30, 2002 Mail this to a friend!

I hope your son takes the time to learn stoichiometry, Ohm's Law, and thermodynamics before he decides he wants to build a computer.

Ham Radio Magazines  
by W4MGY on December 30, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
With the exceiption of QST, and ARRL membership; subscriptions to all the other popular ham magazines where dropped when I went on line 4 years ago. The savings help pay my Internet provider, and saves me of the worry of trying to store all that paper. Besides, the on-line 'magazines' like eHam, the ARRL webpage, and QRZ seem do a pretty good job. The only other radio magazines I do subscribe to is Electric Radio, and The OTB - Old Timer's Bulletin published by the Antique Wireless Association. However, these are radio specialty magazines designed to fill a niche within the hobby. I beleive the Internet has become the visual media of choice for those who wish to obtain information on ham radio these days.
RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by KU4QD on December 30, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
To Ron and others who complain about the lack of tecnhincalcontent in today's ham magazines: Have you looked at QRP Quarterly? Lots and lots of technical/construction articles there, only a page or two on contests, and nothing about politics. If you have any interest in QRP at all, it's probably the best ham magazine out there.

72/73 de Caity, KU4QD.
RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by KU4QD on December 30, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
It seems to me Ron's 19 year old son has more wisdom than most older hams I know. Pity he dropped out. I can understand why.
Ham Radio Magazines  
by WN3VAW on December 30, 2002 Mail this to a friend!

As others have pointed out, the magazine racks at the various chain and other bookstores only carry material that people buy. What has not been pointed out is that they also only carry the QUANTITY that they think they'll sell in a month.

A nearby Borders carries CQ; I had occasion last year to look for it, for personal reasons, and I bought the 4 copies on the shelf. The clerk mentioned that this was a little early in the month for them to sell out of CQ, it usually took another week or so (since some regular customers didn't buy it every month).

So I wouldn't neccesarily assume that it's not stocked. However, as also has been pointed out, if you don't see it, make a point of asking. And if you and others ask, and they do start stocking it (and it may only be 4 or 5 copies at first), BUY IT. If they don't sell some or all of them, they'll quit stocking them -- big surprise there, right?

And keep your eyes open... I know I'm going to get nailed here, but I'll say this anyway: There were a few, ah, adult-content stores in downtown Pittsburgh, a few years back, that did stock some token non-adult content to keep the heat off; they may still be there, I'm not downtown too much anymore (and I don't walk past them to the bus, either). Two of these had extensive magazine racks that were on prominent display by the front window. Yes, they did carry everything your imagination is thinking of and more... but up front on display were all sorts of news, computer, hobby-oriented, and general interest magazines, including CQ, Popular Communications, 73 and QST amongst many others. (No, I didn't buy any of them <g>! For one thing, I had subscriptions at the time to all but 73)

73, ron wn3vaw
Ham Radio Magazines  
by WN3VAW on December 30, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Note to those complaining about the amount of ad space that our magzines appear to be devoted to:

Have you picked up Popular Photography lately? You think OUR magazines are chock full of ads, take a look at these & some of the other photo oriented mags!

Ham Radio Magazines  
by K0RGR on December 30, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I think the author of this article may have hit on something here.

You will notice that the cover of QST was changed recently to include the phrase "the journal for Amateur Radio" in place of the more cryptic "ARRL". Sometimes packaging a product is a critical part of its marketing. In this country, many marketeers know you can sell dung if it is polished correctly. ("It's very powerful and promotes growth").

Our local Barnes and Noble carries QST, CQ, CQ VHF, whatever the new name for Popular Electronics is, and Monitoring times, which all carry articles on ham radio. I think this must be a local option thing. The B+N downtown used to carry 73, too, but appears to have dropped all the ham mags now. They do sell out at the local store.

I too have a teenaged son who has a ham license but almost never uses it, and Morse Code isn't the problem. It is that he has far too many other things to do. Someday, if your son is truly interested, he will do what it takes to get the license. Mine wanted to do storm spotting. He has all the license he needs for that. One thing that we try to emphasize here in our training classes is the huge variety of things you can do in Ham Radio. We have little demos each night of the classes (10 weeks) to show newcomers things BEYOND Skywarn, in hopes of interesting some of them in other areas of the Amateur Service. Perhaps your son would be interested in a West Coast VHF Society convention?
How about a good book?  
by N0NB on December 30, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Setting aside the magazine discussion for a minute, I wonder if we may not be barking up the wrong tree?

When I am interested enough in a subject to head to the bookstore, I go to the book section, not the magazine rack. One thing is certain, books generally have years between revisions, thus a book retailer may be likely to keep a copy of a book on the shelf then to deal with a turnover of low volume magazines.

We in the ham community are continually saying that we need to attract the advanced communications types to the hobby. As demonstrated by N6QL's son, apparently the only thing ham radio can offer him is access to spectrum for new technologies. Well, the Amateur Radio Service has the spectrum available, so why N6QL's son isn't using it despite the OTs on HF is an unexplained mystery to me! I digress, but it puzzles me why this licensed ham earning an engineering degree isn't interested in using the spectrum available to him to further his studies and carry out experiments. So, we need to figure out why newcomers become disillusioned so quickly with ham radio.

Back to my topic. What I think would help a ham radio presence in book stores and perhaps hobby stores is a book that presents a general introduction to ham radio. This would not be a licensing guide or operating guide and while a few simple construction articles might be appealing, it should not be a construction book. It should not be fiction. While it should be authored by a ham, I don't think it should be edited or published by ARRL or any of the other traditional ham radio publishers.

A publisher such as O'Reilly & Associates would be a much better fit with the book I am considering. Why? O'Reilly is a familiar name to and a favorite of the technical people we claim to want to interest in ham radio. Also, the editors at O'Reilly are well equipped to guide the author in writing a book for the lay-person and keep the pace of the book informative without becoming an exercise in ham jargon. As you may be able to tell, I own a number of O'Reilly books and have been pleased with my purchase in each case.

The problems I see are finding a good author and then convincing O'Reilly to publish the resulting book. The advantage could be huge as O'Reilly books have a recognizable shelf presence and would be located in areas of topical interest to technical people.

Now, what will ham radio have to offer the people who become interested via a book such as this? Well, folks it better be more than 2 meter HTs and ragchews on 75 meters (was that too harsh?). I'm thinking along the lines of Software Defined Radio (GNU Radio) and other "out there" ideas. If someone comes to the local club meeting as says, "I read about SDR in a book last week and I'd like to give it a try. Can you guys help me?" Well, I dare say the answer had better be an enthusiastic, "YES!" than, "Oh, nobody does anything like THAT in our club."

I realize we all have time sinks, and I'm no different. But we'd better figure out quick what the next generations of hams wish to do, or we're all doomed to seeing the hobby become a footnote in history.
RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by G3SEA on December 30, 2002 Mail this to a friend!

This posting has elicited some thoughtful responses.

Over in Honolulu the local Waldens Bookstores dropped
QST and Monitoring Times but kept CQ and Popular Communications.
The ARRL said that it was getting out of the Bookstore Rack end of the business because of escalating costs.

Barnes and Nobles kept CQ and Popular Communications.

The Name change concept is worth looking into.One of
my lady friends did indeed mistake a copy of CQ for
GQ :)

I don't believe magazines on display racks per se will increase the ham ranks but every little bit helps in an increasingly technological but ( in the case of the
perception of Ham Radio ) somewhat blase and cynical
general ( youth ) population :(
RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by W5HTW on December 30, 2002 Mail this to a friend!

Interesting and informative posts. But one thing comes to mind as I subscribe to QST and am thinking of subscribing to CQ. The ham magazines are for hams! Look at any of them. They are for hams, not for people who would like to BE hams but aren't, or for people who have no idea what ham radio is about.

When I was 15, I bought a copy of The Radio Amateur's Handbook. It took me pretty much nothing, and I bought it because a fellow student in my Spanish class told me it was THE book for ham radio. But I would not have purchased it had I just seen it sitting there on the shelf. I was led to it. And it was sitting at a bus stop and trying to figure out what the book was telling me, when a man stopped and asked if I was a ham. That led me to a long and wonderful time in this hobby, but without being led, I would have thrown the book away and stuck with guitar playing.

So what's the object? Post QST, 73, and others up front, and hope somone 'by chance' picks one up accidentally? Most people, especially kids, have just so much money to spend, and they aren't going to purchase a magazine that is about something they've never heard of. They'll buy computer mags, and unless they have to push aside a whole box of QST to get to a computer or music magazine, they won't even see them, let alone open them and become excited about the hobby.

Magazines for pilots (I am one of them things too) are occasionally looked at by non-pilots, but note the phrasing I just used: "magazines for pilots." Not for would-be pilots, or people who couldn't care less about flying.

Magazines are passive advertising at best, in my opinion. You can write Amateur Radio in 72 points all over the front of the magazine and you still have not attracted anyone but a licensed ham. When I browse the
magazine rack, I look at piloting magazines, radio magazines, computer magazines, and gun magazines. I
don't even notice the magazines on fishing, as I don't care for it, and I don't see magazines on crossword
puzzles, building houses, gardening, or (anymore) model railroading. In order to look at a magazine, I have to be first interested in the subject, not stand there and hope the magazine GETS me interested in the subject. People who buy Popular Electronics, or Popular Communications already have an interest in the subject.

The problem we are discussing is not how to increase the interest, but to get it started in the first place.

I don't doubt that people pick up QST in the doctor's office. Geeze, they're bored stiff. They'll read menu
cards and subscription cards. I'll read Modern Woman, or Meal of the Day, of how to build a cat house. But I'm not going to go out and build a cat house because I saw the magazine there. And who is at doctor's offices anyway? Sick kids, who have no interest in reading anything, or old folks who if they aren't a ham, won't ever be.

So what is the answer? (in my opinion - you all have your own. I'm not sure there is one. Of course, every
stone in the wall contributes toward building the China Wall, but putting up one stone and losing three is
backward motion. Ham radio is not a hobby for the masses. It has very limited appeal, and it always has
been that way. It should probably always be that way, just in the interest of keeping it ham radio.

When some of us came into this hobby there was no competition. Heck I got into it before stereo was
common place! No cell phones, no pagers, no electronic games, no VCRs, no DVDs, no internet, no home computers. The only competition ham radio had in my life came from girls and cars, and I couldn't afford
either one, let alone ham radio.

That isn't the case today. "Radio" is an antique word. Kids don't listen to radio. They listen to music on
the web. Today ham radio is headed toward becoming a utility, a means of allowing computers to talk to
other computers, and the 'bare bones meat' of "radio" is about as interesting as telling the kid how a telephone wire is strung up so it can carry his computer signals. "Ham Radio" is disappearing as a hobby that is the "ends" and is instead becoming the "means" to chat on computers. I really doubt that is going to change, even with a whole box of QSTs in the doc's office.

So how do you attract the youth? Well you expose them to the subject, but, hey, you know kids. You don't
press them or they go the other way. Efforts to show kids ham radio in the schools are great, but you know
what? Almost ALL of the in-school demonstrations are of an HT working through a satellite, perhaps ISS, and to a 4th grader, that is dangerously like a cell phone. And he already has one of those.

Impress him! Show him buttons and lights and bells and whistles and you stand a chance of piquing his interest. Let him hear you straining on 20 meters to work DX and he MAY see a challenge. But he can't differeniate between HT and cell phone and CB, and pager, and he really doesn't care. Create a video of a rather impressive ham radio station, doing rather impressive things, and if you play that video for a class of 20, you may get 3 or 4 inquiries as to "just what IS that, and how can I do it?" But efforts to turn the entire fourth grade into hams are extremely misguided, concentrating on numbers with no goals other than just being numbers.

Keep the video short, under 10 minutes, and get the
science/physics teacher to present it. Be there to answer questions, if any arise.

That's all - present it. No pressure. See if anyone bites. If so, reel them in (and I said I'm not a fisherman!!) If not, go somewhere else to drop your video into the creek.


RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by W8DPC on December 31, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Actually, Ed, YOU have hit the nail on the head. You said that you bought a copy of The Radio Amateur's Handbook because you were "led" to it by someone else. Think if every amateur would "lead" one other inquisitive mind towards ham radio, and explain why amateur radio still excites them. Even if a small percentage of those "led" to the hobby actually pursued it further, that's still alot of new hams.

We can't expect people to just stumble across amateur radio and dive into it on their own. But we have three huge stumbling blocks. There are three types of amateurs that are indeed hurting the future of amateur radio on their own. You have 1) They types that don't want to fool with a new ham. Leave that up to someone else to mess with; 2) Those who are so outraged by / jealous of the new license requirements that they feel that no one taking a test today even deserves to be a ham; and 3) Those who are so content with the state of amateur radio today that they don't care if there are ever any newly licensed hams. Read all the posts about new hams who get on the air and are absolutely abused by nasty SOB's who say that they have no right to be on the air, be it HF or VHF. It's no wonder next to nobody wants to pursue amateur radio anymore. There's a whole lot of people who don't want new hams in our hobby, and unfortunately that hinders the efforts of those of us who do.

Now what was I saying? Oh, yeah, it's up to us to introduce people to amateur radio. You can't sit around and wait for someone to ask you to elmer them. And back to the topic of this thread, I have gone into book stores with a friend and seen a copy of QST in the past. I thought it was great, and I bought it right up, but he didn't even give it a second look. It's just the type of thing where you have to be looking for that type of thing to be interested in it. (And yes, I have tried extensively to get my friend interested in it, but he still hasn't grasped the excitement that I find in amateur radio).

Ham Radio Magazines  
by K6SBA on December 31, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
This thoughtful article is another one which ponders the future of ham radio (this time via the availability of publications for hams or prospective hams).

I have always found this kind of self-reflection regarding ham radio interesting. Do people whose hobby is photography have endless discussions over recruitment strategies for new members in their hobby? How about sailors, or stamp collectors, or woodworkers? Yes, I know ham radio is an FCC service and not "merely" a hobby, but for most of us it is primarily a hobby. Do other avocations go to great extents to recruit new, young members into their ranks, or do people (young or old) find their way into the new hobby by personal interest, rather than something akin to the "Big Project" or bringing ham into the classroom, etc.?

There was a huge interest in electronics after WWII, and no doubt, this led to a "golden age" for ham radio. The availability of kits gave a real hobby quality to ham radio. This time has passed, and I don't believe that recruiting efforts are what is needed to "save" ham radio. I don't believe "elmering" some neighborhood kid is the answer either.

Perhaps the days of people being enchanted by the mysteries of throwing RF into the ether are over; but perhaps not. I will always have an antenna in my backyard, and will work some mode or other. Hopefully there will always be some others who will do the same, but I don't believe there is much proof that "marketing" ham radio will solve the perceived problem.

Stay on the air!!

73 de K6SBA
David in Santa Barbara, CA
Ham Radio Magazines  
by N6HPX on December 31, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Hello I been traveling around the world for 26 plus years, most of that on Business. I have seldom come across any Ham Magazines. I remember the U.S.Navy's book store in Japan use to carry em, but the Navy shut down all its book stores an started selling on what they thought the public should read.
In traveling to other places like singapore, or the persian gulf. I was amazed to find that some areas have a large selection while others have only a few. Singapore's book store had at least 10 different ones<cq,qst,73 an alot of the british,not to mention the shortwave one's.
I too have been dissapointed by the lack of places to find em, one store in Japan<USN> mentioned to me that they only sell a few copies per month. But I told em there must be a need or wist they wouldn't buy em. They mentioned that they had plans to discontinue there sells. Now you can't even find a book of Basic electricity because the book stores are all closed
Have only found QST in a few is it some shops will sell ones that are hardly viewed by us as hobbies an yet they won't go out an sell ours..
I have to wait 3 weeks or more to find a QST,73,CQ but thats only because I send for mine while were at sea.

73's from Larry Fields
Ham Radio Magazines  
by KB1IUB on December 31, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I wanted to look at the new CQ VHF magazine. I went to borders and asked if they carried CQ. The woman was apparently insulted and would not help me. Why? She was an intelligent and independent woman that does not promote the idolization of women. Those were her words unedited as I remember them, basically.

Model Railroading has quite few magazines. They probably have less of an established base then Ham Radio. The NMRA only has approximately 30,000 members, if I remember correctly. Lionel does interconnect with the general model railroading segment. Lionel trains have several of their own magazines.

Railroad enthusiasts can get Railroad & Railfan, TRP, Trains, Railpace, Vintage Rails, and this and that. They are quite figuratively at least 20 railroad related magazines published monthly or on a quarterly

When is the last time that Borders carried all of them? You are lucky if you see Model Railroader there. No one in my area carries any ham radio magazines. It is a pity, because I wanted to see what the fuss was in CQ VHF. I heard that they had some interesting stuff about bicycling operatins and home made yagis. I would have like to take a look. QST is not carried by any bookstore or magazine stand anymore. I believe they dropped the market segment all together.

If you think a magazine is going to help, get your local library to subscribe to it. Check out the magazine every month for a day or two. They do check the usage on their purchases and those reports do control their future purchases. If you actually had everyone in your local club check it out, they would be purchasing CQ, CQ VHF, QRP, 73, 73 French edition too! Plus with interlibrary loan being very common now, if someone is looking for it, they can get it. The same thing goes for Antenna theory books, electrical principles books, transceiver design books, etc.


Ham Radio Magazines  
by N4KRA on December 31, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
It was asked below if there is a 73 magazine any more. Yes there is. Wayne Green Took it back over. I love reading his editorials. The way he just put everything in a pot and just started stirring to see what came up..
I have a hole in the wall newsstand that carries QST and CQ and Popular Communications. I found only 2 others in my area that carried Popular Communications. but not the others.
If we want to have this hobby stay around. we have to start getting the young people in it and get the magazines to attract their interest. Ham Radio said it all and was the first one I ever bought.
Ham Radio Magazines  
by K3ZD on December 31, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I have an appointment with the proctologist Friday and will be sure to leave a copy of QST there.

Ham Radio Magazines  
by K3ZD on December 31, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I have an appointment with the proctologist Friday and will be sure to leave a copy of QST there.

RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by N2MG on December 31, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
> > is no substitute for QST,CQ,etc.

Thanks so much for sharing your view.

Mike N2MG
RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by N0YE on December 31, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I am not sure if the magazines would in anyway help to get new amateurs in our ranks. I wouldn't mind our local shops keeping some in stock just so they would be handy.

If the point of your question is what would be the best way to get new hams started I would say that the local clubs should advertise in the local paper about the hobby, publish a few contact names.

My expierence was that I always wanted to be a amateur radio operator, however I did not have a clue, or enough motivation on how to get started, nor did I even know one ham. Therefore I went many years oblivious to what was out there even though I did have a strong desire in getting a license.

It was not until my employer,a local municipality asked me to find out how to get a license and tasked me with obtaining one afterwards, so the city would have emergency communications, did I dig hard enough to find a local ham to point me in the right direction.

We have to find a way to get the information out in front of the public, and a ham magazine in my humble opinion will not do the trick.

Clubs should do like successful businesses do, advertise boldly in the local paper, something that the average joe reads. While reading the paper he may just stumble over something that he has been looking for and not found.


James - N0YE
RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by N0YE on December 31, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I am not sure if the magazines would in anyway help to get new amateurs in our ranks. I wouldn't mind our local shops keeping some in stock just so they would be handy.

If the point of your question is what would be the best way to get new hams started I would say that the local clubs should advertise in the local paper about the hobby, publish a few contact names.

My expierence was that I always wanted to be a amateur radio operator, however I did not have a clue, or enough motivation on how to get started, nor did I even know one ham. Therefore I went many years oblivious to what was out there even though I did have a strong desire in getting a license.

It was not until my employer,a local municipality asked me to find out how to get a license and tasked me with obtaining one afterwards, so the city would have emergency communications, did I dig hard enough to find a local ham to point me in the right direction.

We have to find a way to get the information out in front of the public, and a ham magazine in my humble opinion will not do the trick.

Clubs should do like successful businesses do, advertise boldly in the local paper, something that the average joe reads. While reading the paper he may just stumble over something that he has been looking for and not found.


James - N0YE
RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by WR8Y on December 31, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
Now HERE is an idea...

Something I've been doing for several years is to take my old QST, CQ, and WorldRadio magazines to Doctor, Optometrist, and Dental offices and Barbershops when I go. I leave the magazines there. They always have such old, out of date, uninteresting magazines at most of these places that people seem to pick these up quickly.

Why didn't I think of that?

RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by N0MTY on December 31, 2002 Mail this to a friend!
I agree that is inferior to the print magazines but in only one way- it's tough to read eHam in the loo.
RE: 19 year old engineering student ...  
by N6QL on January 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
To: Steve,

Hi Steve,
You miss the point. Ohm's law is not the equivalent of Morse code. Morse code is a means of communication that offers some unique advantages but is irrelevant to todays engineering environment. One could be come a leader in the field of communications using RF these days without ever knowing Morse code whereas ohm's law (and most of the other things you mention) are a requirement.

Morse law is a hobby for some who are interested and of no value in todays workplace and advanced technology. It is merely a hobby that hams have made artificially important amongst themselves. Ohm's law is a requirement for todays electrical engineers.

Best regards,
RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by K3IVB on January 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I liked N6QL son's point of view. I also have a 20 year old son who is working towards getting his masters in computer information systems and internet whatever...He couldn't care less about amateur radio. I use mostly CW and when his friends come over, some will ask what those shiny brass hickys are. When it's explained they are used to send morse code, they think itís funny and canít understand why one would bother to communicate in such a way. Itís like learning to read braille to them, totally unnecessary and useless because they donít need to. I am 51 and most everyone I talk to on CW is at least my age, and many older, many have names from the 1920ís. Having more ham magazines when itís painfully obvious, to me anyway, that our problem lies way beyond more amateur magazines in public places prompted me write this. For the 20 plus years I have been playing with radio everyone has been saying our hobby is dying, and I canít argue with them because I have seen the decline in my short 20 years. But, who cares as far as I am concerned because I canít solve that problem. So, I enjoy getting on CW and meeting new friends and exchanging signal reports and bragging about what radio or paddle I am using. I donít worry about this hobby dying because I can still get on and have some fun, and I donít worry about twisting someoneís arm preaching how much they are missing because itís, IMHO, totally a waste of breathe, and time that could be spent enjoying this hobby while itís here. 73 Curt
Ham Radio Magazines  
by KG4OOA on January 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Why does everyone want someone to do our job? Magazines are published with the intent of profit. There is nothing wrong with that. What is being asked here is for corporations to do our job for us.

Ask yourself the following:

1. Does your club have a public relations officer?
2. Is your public relations officer effective getting information about amateur radio to the general public?
3. Has you or any group of local Hams offered to speak before schools, scouts and other groups about Amateur Radio?
4. Have you or any group of local Hams set up booths or displays at fairs, theaters, etc. spreading information about Amateur Radio?
5. Do your or your local club offer Amateur Radio classes and are they well publicized not to hams but to the general public?

This isn't an inclusive list. I'm sure you can think up some additional ones.

When I got my first ticket in 1961, these were things other than Field Day, etc. that the club that I belonged to discussed at the meetings. We were concerned but we also took action.

Think about it. How many new Hams can you or your club Elmer. Multiply that by 10% of the hams and see what the numbers can become.

Now that the fire is started by you, see how many magazines come out of the woodwork.
RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by KZ9G on January 1, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
It seems as though the only ham related "technical" magazine presently available is QEX. This is an ARRL product that combined with CQ's Communications Quarterly a year or two ago (the other recent technical mag). This would be the place to read interesting articles for the technically adept. It's rather enjoyable reading! 73.
Ham Radio Magazines  
by K8AG on January 2, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Great responses.

A lot of the responses indicate that we don't have the numbers to support magazines in bookstores. I don't advocate more magazines necessarily, just better named ones that non-radio savy people will recognize.

I also can't believe that, for example, there are more people building full sized aircraft at home than those interested in radio communications.

We need to have a publication that steps out of our vernacular enough to draw people in.

RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by VA3BRR on January 2, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
With so many of us online these days, the publishers of ham radio magazines should consider transfering the entire magazines to online journals. Then charging users of this a slightly lower fee than what we pay for an annual subscription for paper copies.
Brian Robinson
RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by W7COM on January 2, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
N0MTY:"I agree that is inferior to the print magazines but in only one way- it's tough to read eHam in the loo."

What do you think 802.11b is for!

Trying to avoid jokes about log files.

RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by K8AG on January 3, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Yup, its awkward using a laptop on the can.

I agree it would be good to reduce the paper waste from magazines. But I still use 20 and 30 year old computer and radio references which would be difficult to find on line.

Again, I don't think we need another magazine. We should just make names of current magazines more apparently radio oriented to the non-radio prototechs.
Ham Radio Magazines  
by KD7PXM on January 3, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I picked up my ticket just last year, but was interested in ham radio from the 1950s on. Public awareness of Amateur Radio is much less today than it was then. I hear many questions from others asking why did I become a ham. Speaking of the public at large, there is no awareness of:
1. How Amateur Radio can be fun.
2. How Amateur Radio can fit in with other activities.
3. How broad a field Amateur Radio is.
4. How Amateur Radio is active in their area.

We know ourselves how we use it with our cars, our phones, our computers, our model planes, etc. Can't we take the initiative and write articles for the computer magazines, the camping magazines, the modeler's magazines, the sportsmen's magazines, the women's magazines about how we integrate our radio activities into the rest of our lives? If articles frequently showed up in other periodicals touting our hobby, the public interest in our magazines would rise as well.
Ken kd7pxm
Ham Radio Magazines  
by KD7KGX on January 5, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I am a fairly new ham (2.5 years) who got his ticket because of a chance encounter with QST at the newsstand. As a result of reading the March '00 article on the (then-new) Elecraft K2, I got my license, got interested in QRP, built a K2, now have an Omni VI also, and enjoy CW and the HF digital modes. Unlike most hams, I do not have any equipment that works above 30 Mhz.

I am an ARRL member who thinks ARRL's decision to stop distributing QST at the newsstand is a real loser. How do they expect to attract new people to the hobby if there is no way to find out about it. I pick up about 8 issues of CQ a year, and about 6 issues of 73, but find that I enjoy QST the most.

I like eHam and think it presents valuable information to the ham community, but it is not a substitute for QST. The two venues are complimentary. I don't see eHAM ever running tests like the ARRL does on new gear.

I can tell you that, as a fairly technically proficient person, much of that first QST I read was incomprehensible, especially the ads. One day manufacturers will get a clue and describe, in terms an intelligent layman can understand, why exactly someone would want to buy a particular radio (an entry-level rig like the IC-719/FT-840/TS-50). Too many ads (and too many articles) spend too much time touting the features of amateur radio (different communications bands, different modes, etc.) instead of the benefits (talk to other interesting people around the world without using anything but a radio and a piece of wire).

I think that the best approach that ARRL can take to get more people interested in ham radio might be to take advantage of public service ads (free to charitable organizations like the ARRL) in major magazines and on network television, and use them to highlight younger hams who have achieved some sort of goal that helps their community via ham radio. The Big Project (getting ham radio into schools) is another good idea and I think it will get more young people into ham radio.

You'll get attention of the smart kids who are interested in this sort of stuff, and that's probably the best you can do.

Ham Radio Magazines  
by N2SYI on January 5, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I have to agree with Ron's son, we need to spark the interest of the younger hams (present and future) to allow the hobby to survive. How we do business and how we live our daily lives have changed drastically over the last 50 years

Shouldn't ham radio evolve also?
Ham Radio Magazines  
by N9OH on January 5, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
The initial post mentioned that no amateur radio magazines presented themselves as amateur radio up front.... something about CQ, QST, and 73 being too confusing for non-ham folks. Well, i'm looking at my January 2003 copy of CQ and the first line on the cover says "Amateur Radio" next line is "Communications & Technology" and then under that it says "CQ" and "January 2003". So if the very first line says "Amateur Radio" (not in small font either!) then the statement just isn't true.

For what its worth, CQ is stocked at both Borders and B&N in my hometown.

73 - Steve, N9OH
RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by KC2KJI on January 6, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I've seen lots of good points in this thread. I myself am pretty new to ham radio. I always thought ham radio was an elite hobby and only consisted of guys with thousand$ of dollars in radio equipment set up in the basement and a 100' antenna in the back yard talking to people around the world.

What got me interested in the hobby was what someone else has already mentioned...I was lead into it. I was out with a friend one day and we were hitchhiking around the country and he pulled out a 2-meter HT. "What's that?" I asked him, and he was happy to explain about ham radio and how great it was, the license requirements, etc..

At the time I had little money, and couldn't buy an HT even if I wanted to. But a few years later I was hanging out with another friend of mine...same story. He pulled out a VX5R and started talking to someone 30 miles away. I thought it was do that from the palm of your hand. So as someone else suggested, I was lead into the hobby by a couple friends of mine.

So I got my ticket and an HT and have had good fun with it when travelling around. However, I rarely talk to people in my home town because A) It seems people are rarely monitoring the local repeaters, so if I call out to them, I get no response. or B) If I do stumble on a conversation there's a 60% chance that it has to do with radio gear. Like Caity would be much more fun if you could get on and talk politics, or local events or whatever, but people seem to not be interested in that.

It seems that the folks working the local bands (2m, 70cm and 1.25m) just use it to exchange technical tips on building radios and antennas, and then do their serious talking on HF at night (although I don't listen to the HF bands).

I think this has to do with the area where I live, though, as when I travel to differnt cities, there are some cities where you can almost always find people on the air and willing to talk. Here in Buffalo-NY it seems a different story.

So those are my disjointed ramblings. To get new hams:
1. Talk to friends about the hobby. Demonstrate an HT to them as an introduction. Maybe HF gear if they're interested.

2. Talk on the air more often, or at least monitor the local repeaters. I think if more people listened and chatted on the air, it would attract others, and snowball. As I said, I have a hard time finding conversation and I live in a major city.

3. I would also recommend monitoring popular simplex frequencies. Sometimes, if I am in a one-horse (and one-repeater) town, I will not be able to catch anyone on the repeater, or maybe there is no repeater and will try 146.52 or something similar. I have never gotten a response on 146.52. I will also try to raise someone on 146.52 in a strange area and ask them for local repeater freqs.. This is all about making ham radio more accessible and more useful for other hams who may be unfamiliar with your local area.

Just some ideas;
RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by KE1MB on January 6, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
There is an electronics store in my area, they carry QST. But I myself just don't buy them. I use the net, I visit eham several times a day, search for other ham related web sites and the such. There may not be a demand for the mags in a common book store, but the internet is teaming with ham related material. But no it is not the same as having something to read, nothing will ever beat that.
RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by KD2FAH on January 7, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Many will not like what I have to say but it is an honest answer: Ham radio magazines are not going to draw people into Amateur Radio. Ham radio has a great deal of competition. There are many technical hobbies, do-it-yourself projects, that will satisfy a tinkers needs with free time in this day and age. The wealth of information available for free on the internet makes most magazines, newspapers, and journals not worth the cost or the shelf space. The reality is that ham radio has been loosing the hearts and minds war for years. To boost membership you have to adapt to changing times. Clubs and individual hams have to be more open and promote the hobby. Lets face it ham radio has been somewhat of a closed society. Sitting around talking about the good old days is not going to boost membership. Clubs and individuals willing to actively promote the hobby in schools, to girl scout troops, helping to get a university club off the ground, by talking to a neighbor or a friend about the hobby is what is going to draw people into ham radio.
RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by JAMES_BENEDICT_EX_N8FVJ on January 7, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
73 (if in publication) & CQ just are not the informative publications they were 20 years ago. This has caused a lack of interest for any kind of sales at the local bookstore. Additionally, the computer & internet has caused a huge impact to our hobby. I may suggest high-performance, state of the art transceivers may have reached its zenith as well. Unfortunately, it reminds me of the CB radios in the late 1970s & early 1980s. Many radios were available back then whereas about nothing high-performance is available today. Support your favorite manufacture and purchase a new transceiver or lose it all.
RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by KD7KGX on January 8, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
We have certainly not reached the zenith of amateur radio performance. Instead, we are on the eve of a whole new generation of radios and operating modes that is just one more manifestation of the incredible changes wrought first by the transistor and then by the IC.

I'm sure that many hams thought that radios wouldn't get any better than their state-of-the-art in the '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. Of course they were wrong. An entry-level rig today (IC-718, FT-840) is as good or better than the top-of-the-line in the 1970s. No Heathkit (or factory radio) had the performance of today's Elecraft K2 in the 1970s, and darn few have it now.

What about PSK31, MFSK, etc.? Running RTTY in the 1960s and '70s was a CHORE what with the machinery, cables, etc., and receivers drifted a heck of a lot more, too. And now we have HF digital voice modes on the horizon, promising us FM quality at SSB bandwidths. New modes that rely on our PC soundcards (and that will eventually be able to run inside the rig itself) can copy signals BELOW the noise floor... what is used by a few for weak signal work today will eventually be turned into something we all can benefit from.

The number of licenses in America is at an all-time high... and the stats show that the growth is happening in the General and Extra ranks, not the no-code Techs. Don't call the funeral home, because the patient has never looked better.

Sure... ham radio is changing, by leaps and bounds. But it will still be ham radio and if we could transfer a ham from the 1950s forward in time he'd still love the hobby even though he would be awestruck by the technological advances.

Ham Radio Magazines  
by N8QQ on January 9, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
W5HTW said: "The ham magazines are for hams! Look at any of them. They are for hams, not for people who would like to BE hams but aren't..."

Wrong. I, for one, picked up an occasional CQ, 73, and QST (and popular communications) at the grocery for many years while I wasn't a ham, starting around age 12. I didn't even know what a ham was really, didn't even have clue where to begin. I simply started becoming mesmerized by the pictures of shacks and antenna arrays I saw in the magazines. At the time, I didn't care much about the technical stuff, but that didn't stop me from buying them for the pictures and the non-technical content. I might go several years without buying one, and then I'd catch sight of one in the store, buy it, and the interest was renewed. If those magazines had not existed, I most likely not have become licensed later at age 23.

Rest assured that there are people out there who discover interests in this manner, even if you don't. Magazines are a cheap way to find out if you're really interested in something. I did it with many different things besides ham radio, as well, while growing up. I still do it occassionally. I recently did it with Sky & Telescope for amateur astronomy.

John (K8AG), I think you're point is well made about the marketing aspect of the magazine names. Subtle marketing differences carry a lot of leverage.

Although, while on the subject of marketing, I'd be perfectly happy if the name "ham" radio were to disappear. It just doesn't sound like anything appealing. It sounds like greasy meat :) I think "amateur radio" is immediately descriptive and helps to lose some of the negative ideas that have become associated with the moniker "ham" radio over the years.

Also, K6SBA wondered why the interest in recruiting. Without people, we lose our highly-sought-after frequencies, and we lose our hobby. There is definitely a higher warranted interest for recruiting ham radio people than other hobbies.

Brad N8QQ

Ham Radio Magazines  
by N6HPX on January 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I have been traveling for the Government for about 26 years now<civilian>, and in part of my travels I was able to find most of the QST,CQ,and 73's. But about 6 or 7 years back most of my usual locations turned up without these's copies.
One location was at the book stores for the u.s navy. When I asked why the magazines were no longer available they mentioned that there was hardly any one buying em. They were always in the back where no one would ever notice em. The U.S.Navy in Japan did away with most of there book stores claiming they had been loosing money to the internet.
Internet is fine but not everyone has access to one in the home. And in my travels I usually try to down load some on line subscriptions, but these usually come in larger PDF's, and with out a 100 MB zip they are harder to copy on disc<monitoring times being one em>.
In singapore I found that the one store that carryed all my magazines was Border's and they had almost all of fact they had a hard time keeping em in stock.

73's from Guam island, Larry Fields,n6hpx
Ham Radio Magazines  
by MSN90 on January 11, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
This is a good subject. I was always interested in hearing shortwave and cb's, as a kid, however I never did anything about it because we didn't have much money. So, I know virtually nothing about ham radio, shortwave, etc. I would read any mag I could come across. I've found a lot on the net, though. From what I've read, I don't think interest can be increased, by much, in this hobby. As someone who knows nobody doing this, I've found it extremely hard to learn about. This site and a few others have done a decent job of explaining some parts, but I am still left wondering on many things and I've spent 10-15 hours, just looking to figure out what this is about. I think most web pages are aimed at those who already know ham radio and that may be the same for the magazines. I have yet to find one site that does an acceptable job of outlining what a person needs-equipment-wise, brief technical info., and an example of price. I, also, can not find a site that actually explains the fun and enjoyment of this hobby-the reason for doing it. Thus far I have come to the conclusion that most ham operators' goals are to mess with the gear and see how far they can broadcast. That's the main thing I read on web sites and that's what is discussed most excitedly and with the most exclamation points!! I do see that you can pick up news from around the world and some other things, but I can read web sites that give the opinions and such of foreigners, so that's not needed by me. I fail to see the benefit-culturally, of seeing how far away I can reach or talking on a radio, just to do so, I'd rather talk to a friend in person. I would love to hear stuff over the air that is interesting, somewhat intriguing; I would like to hear people expand on their ideas of life, society, what excites them; people reading poetry and stuff like that-lots of different things. My ideas aren't far from others'. I work in a job setting with all types. I've told them that I was looking into ham radio and why and they thought it sounded neat and wanted to know what I found out. Unfortunately, I've had to tell them and other friends that it doesn't look like something that is interesting. The internet also poses the opportunity to talk to others and hear their voices and to hear broadcasts on many subjects. I've avoided it because I don't have a fast connection and I don't like tying up the phone line for things like that. I know many people have probably gone down the same trail as myself, only to be dissappointed at what's done with shortwave. If the goal is to attract new people, you need to show that shortwave is used for communicating culture. Most people in society don't care about contests, these are as relevant as seeing how many people I can call in an hour-pointless, even if I constructed the phone. Nor do people want to talk call people to tell them what kind of phone they have. As far as reading the web sites, I don't like seeing all of the extremely technical information, right up front. Nor do I like to seeing jargon and terms I don't understand, right away I feel like an outsider. I read on site where someone said "ham radio isn't boring, it's all up to you, when I think someone isn't talking much I make music with my pencil or tell redneck jokes." Sadly, that kind of post is typical and sums up(although he didn't seem to realize it) why most people don't know about ham radio. I will stop anybody I like from investing in this, if that's the caliber of person on the other end. I could go on and on about this, but I'll stop.
RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by N8QQ on January 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
It sounds like you understand ham radio fairly well, maybe with a few misconceptions, and it sounds like it's probably not for you. What you want it to be is not what it is.

Most of the things you speak condescendingly of are things that do spark excitement in most ham radio people. To the average ham radio operator, the actual content of what is being communicated via amateur radio is often much LESS important than the technical details of how it is being communicated. If you are at all put off by the technical details and the fact that people seem to enjoy communicating for the sake of communicating, then the amateur radio service may not be for you.

The reason you are seeing so much technical information up front when you are researching ham radio is because ham radio is largely a technical hobby. You are tested on technical matters to get the license, and it takes technical know-how to do most things involved in amateur radio. Even as easy as a 2m handheld is to operate, I'd say it at least takes a gadget enthusiast to enjoy getting it set up and so forth.

As for the official purpose ... most things are done in the name of emergency communication preparedness, and the experimentation with, and furthering of, the related technologies. These are the main things that have kept it viable in the mind of the government to let us keep frequency space. The focus of the FCC rules that govern this hobby are largely to this end. If our reason for existence was the content of discussion, most of our frequencies would have been lost to commercial and government interests long ago.

If you are looking for a heavy cultural experience, poetry, philosophy, etc., you will most likely be very disappointed. That's not to say that you can't find others on the air who will discuss these things, I'm just saying that it's rarely used for the purpose of "communicating culture".

You're right, most people in society don't care about contests or what equipment they're using to conduct the conversation, but ham radio isn't for most people, and that's okay. I think we'd simply be happy to know that we could maintain enough people to justify keeping our frequency spectrum, and to keep it technically diverse, interesting, and evolving. And I think when we say we're trying to increase numbers, it doesn't mean we think that anybody and everybody is going to be interested in this. What we do want is to not miss the people who actually have the potential to be interested and to contribute in a positive way. I think we're mainly trying to figure out ways to keep truly potentially interested people from slipping through the cracks and never hearing about it in the first place.

By the way, you mentioned...

> I read on site where someone said "ham radio isn't
> boring, it's all up to you, when I think
> someone isn't talking much I make music with my pencil or
> tell redneck jokes." Sadly, that kind of post is typical
> and sums up(although he didn't seem to realize it) why
> most people don't know about ham radio.

That kind of post (and activity) is definitely not typical. Music in almost any form on amateur radio is expressly forbidden by FCC regulations. I also rarely hear redneck jokes, or jokes of any kind, although people are known to tell a joke now and again within regular conversation. That's not to say that people don't break rules or engage in malicious behavior for various reasons (or for no reason) from time-to-time. It's really no different than any other microcosm of society in that regard.

But I'd say you either need to keep researching ( is your friend), or maybe start looking for something else to get what you want.

Brad N8QQ

Ham Radio Magazines "OUCH!!!"  
by N6VQQ on January 12, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I have just read the articles posted regarding magazines for Ham Radio. I feel that (IMHO) knowledge can be gained both by reading through a magazine, and also by surfing the web.
When reading a magazine about our hobby, you are given the choice to read where and whenever you want, whereas by internet, you are forced to be at the computer, be it laptop,pda, or whatever.
Me, I like to read in the family rest area, where great minds I,m sure, have spent many times there perusing thier chosen magazines.
I also did a little research at, and that is where the "OUCH!!!" came from.
I entered the site, and under the search engine typed in "magazines", it led me to their magazine area where I inputted "CQ" in the search area. I came up with a list of available choices, and after seeing some of them, I went to item 9 and there was the "OUCH!!" They have available for purchase, a subscription to "CQ Ham Radio Magazine" at the price of $108.00, thats right, $108.00. This is for 12 issues at the cost of $9.00 per issue.
The publisher is Maruzen Co LTD, asin #B00007AWJQ, check it out, it's NUT'S!!!.
Then to top it off, they put a "blurb", "if you find it cheaper let us know"
Hope I have not offended anyone, if I have , my apologies.
73 RON
RE: Ham Radio Magazines "OUCH!!!"  
by KB9YTQ on January 29, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
When I entered the ham radio hobby, I did so from SWL'ing. And you have to admit, the hams sure have it a lot better than those of us who are still SWL'ers. The only decent magazine out there for World Band Radio is Popular Communications, which also covers ham and CB. I still have to agree with you though, we need a high profile, glossy color magazine for our hobby other than the 'official' QST.
RE: Ham Radio Magazines  
by MUGMUT on January 16, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I saw you message, I am clearing out 30 -40 years of QST AND RELATED MATERIAL WOULD YOU OR YOUR GROUP BE INTERESTED IN BUYING IT ?

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