ARRL Presents New Membership Benefit”

That was the title of a news item appearing yesterday on the ARRL web page. At first glance, I figured it was just some kind of new equipment or identity-theft insurance.

Yawn.

Then I read the announcement. Boy, was I wrong!

The ARRL has placed all QST articles from 1915 to 2004 online, with free access for ARRL members.

Curiously, this announcement was made at about the time that my membership was up for renewal. I’ve been a member and a staunch defender of the ARRL ever since I became a ham over ten years ago, but with the increased emphasis on newbie-type content in QST over the past couple of years, I admit I’d been toying with the idea of allowing my membership to lapse. Of course, I realize that the ARRL is about more than just publishing QST, so I probably would have renewed anyway, but this latest announcement really sealed the deal for me. As soon as I saw it, I whipped out my credit card and paid my dues for the coming year.

It’s probably no coincidence that the issues of QST that have been placed online are the same as those previously available on the QST-View CDROMs, since the ARRL has discontinued production of those CDROMs (though a few remain for sale on the ARRL web site).

Only QST articles are downloadable as part of this new online archive, although QEX, NCJ, and Ham Radio magazine are also included in the index. Archives of these other periodicals are still available on CDROM from the ARRL. Also, the ARRL Periodical CDROMs (each containing a year’s worth of QST, QEX, and NCJ) are still available starting with 1995, and it appears that new CDROMs will continue to be produced for coming years.

I wonder if the online archive will be updated with newer years as time goes on, or if purchasing the ARRL Periodical CDROMs will be the only way to obtain issues newer than 2004. Since those CDROMs can be had for $19.95 each, I guess I could just pry open my wallet and spring for them. It’ll be nice to be able to toss my old issues of QST. Regrettably, I had to pitch almost ten years’ worth when I moved a couple of years ago. Ouch.

For those of you who aren’t ARRL members, maybe this new benefit will be enough to bring you into the fold. You know who you are. You might not be receiving QST magazine in the mail, but you’ve been reaping the benefits of the ARRL’s good work (like the recent court victory over the FCC regarding BPL regulations) while at the same time making your excuses for why you aren’t a member, whining about how the League didn’t listen to your view on CW or novice band refarming, or how you’re still angry about incentive licensing. You’ve been freeloading while your fellow hams have banded together as the ARRL to ensure the future of our hobby and service. Don’t you think you should do your part, too?

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