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Time to Improve the ARRL Books – No More Expensive “B&W Newsprint” Books in a Multimedia World please. 27 - September - 2012

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
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While there is some good movement in the ARRL editorial and production standards, the league persists in trying to market black & white, often on cheap paper, books that look like relics from the 1950’s.

Or they are magazine thin, refer you to online material to see the color charts/pictures and are basically useless.

Printing on rough paper that looks and feels cheap makes the books a hard sell.

It is time to update the style, format, quality and editing of these books to bring them up to scratch.

Some of the fiction resold by the ARRL appears to be print-on-demand (Lulu.com?) type publications that look great compared to the flagship publications in the offering.

Content editing would also benefit from a younger approach to style and form.

Looking at the latest RSGB books the ARRL resells wouldn’t be a bad idea in planning improvements.

Let’s be clear, the ARRL book offering is one a very few available for radio amateurs and arguably the content is the same whether the delivery has curb appeal or not.  Just seems a shame not hold a higher standard in an effort to put pride in ownership back into these books.

73

Steve
K9ZW

Almost Field Day – Outdoor Radio Thoughts 14 - June - 2012

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
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Not much over a week until ARRL Field Day 2012 and like most interest hams thoughts are on outdoor operations.

For many it is an annual exercise pulling out the same well honed Field Day set-up – some clubs have been practicing in the run up to the event.

For many it is a weekend of “where is that adaptor? Do we have another ground rod? Why is this generator all gummed up? Did you know that xyz is broken this year, again?” and similar frustrations.

For a few brave ones they will get up Field Day Saturday and start pulling gear to take and set up. Minimal plan and much experimenting.

This year I would like to try out several different field deployable antennas I haven’t spent much time with (or in two cases haven’t spent any time with) as my personal theme & goal.

Will have to see if the rest of the local club will put up with my doing this!

73

Steve
K9ZW

A More Sensible Digital Ham Publication Strategy – ARRL Announces Digital QST as an Included Membership Benefit 20 - March - 2012

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
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The ARRL ( http://www.arrl.org ) has announced that QST will have a Digital Edition, that will be a included benefit of ARRL Membership.

No separate subscription apparently will needed.

The email news release doesn’t mention how or if a no-print membership option would be available. I know a couple folk have expressed an interest in no-print subscriptions, so perhaps there will be one or perhaps they can simple arrange for their QST copy to be donated to their local library or a needy ham?

As a second Membership perk all of the QST archives will be available to members on-line, with pre-2012 being the same content format of the limited old archives and the new Digital QST Editions being the forward archives!

The archives I can really get excited about, as having all those articles, reviews, build projects and features of almost 100 years of QST at my fingertips is simply AWESOME !!!

I am very enthused that as an ARRL Life Member I’ll be gaining lifetime access to this huge digital repository.

Here is the announcement, with a couple xxxxx edits to deal with my individual user links:

Coming Soon: NEW ARRL Membership Benefits

Dear Steve Weinert, K9ZW

We are excited to announce two new ARRL membership benefits that will be introduced in June 2012.
In addition to the print copy of QST, all members will have access to an online, digital edition of QST at no extra cost. You will be able to accessQST from anywhere–on nearly any computer, laptop, mobile device, smartphone and tablet (including Apple iPad, iPhone, and devices using the Android operating system).

Also in June, members will gain access to archived issues of QST from December 1915 to the present (previously, only issues through 2007 were available to members). If you are familiar with the current periodicals archive (which serves images of pages), that platform will be expanded to include all of QST from December 1915 through December 2011. A second, new archive will be introduced for issues beginning January 2012, featuring enhanced functionality including full-text search.

Be Prepared!
Members must have a valid ARRL website login to access the current digital edition of QST and archived editions. For a smooth launch of these exciting new benefits, and so that you will be able to quickly access the digital version of QST as soon it becomes available, we are e-mailing you some information that will help you login to the ARRL website prior to launch.

Login Instructions

Please follow these personalized, step-by-step directions below to login to the ARRL website:

  • Go to www.arrl.org
  • At the top, center of the page in “Site Login“, enter your Username: K9ZW and the password you selected during registration.

login.jpg

Forgot Password?
If you have forgotten your password, here are some steps to help you obtain a temporary password which you can use to Login. We recommend writing this temporary password down prior to logging in, then Login using your username and the temporary password.

Select “Forgot Password” on the Login page

- To reset your password by e-mail:

  1. Select “By Email” from the dropdown menu
  2. Enter your Username: K9ZW and e-mail address. You must use the email address that you used to originally register for a website login account.
  3. Click “Submit”

- To reset your password by member credentials:

  1. Select “By Member Credentials” from the drop down menu
  2. Enter your Username: K9ZW
  3. Enter your Member ID: xxxxx
  4. Enter your Call Sign OR Last name
  5. Click “Submit”

Once you are logged in, select “Edit your Profile” to change your password to something you can more easily remember.

Questions?
Contact Member Services by email circulation or by telephone 860-594-0200 or 888-277-5289 (US only).

About this Email

You are subscribed to receive monthly notification of the digital edition of QST. If you have an ARRL website user account, you can manage all of your e-mail preferences at k9zwxxxxx, then please Click Here.

ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio
225 Main Street, Newington, CT 06111-1494 USA
www.arrl.org

Exciting news that really adds to the value of my membership!

Well done ARRL!

73

Steve
K9ZW

The ARRL’s “The DIY Magic of Amateur Radio” on YouTube 29 - December - 2011

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled, QRP.
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Just in case you haven’t seen a link for this great video yet:

ARRL’s new video, “The DIY Magic of Amateur Radio,” is an 8-minute video that follows some of the innovative, imaginative and fun ways “hams” use radio technology in new and creative ways. The presentation is directed toward the DIY (do it yourself) movement, which is inspiring a new generation of creators, hackers and innovators. The message should be helpful for existing members to shape the ways they understand and talk about ham radio. For more information and related resources, visit http://www.arrl.org/wedothat-radio-org.

Enjoy!

73

Steve
K9ZW

ARRL Diamond DXCC Challenge – Looks like fun! 23 - December - 2011

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, DX Interests, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
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This looks really neat:

2012 is the 75th anniversary of the ARRL’s DXCC Award. The world’s preeminent DXing award continues to be DXCC, so reaching the “Diamond milestone” is an event that we all want to celebrate. Going back to the roots of the award, and specifically reading the 1937 DXCC List (January, 1937 QST pages 52-3) to learn what countries were counted at the onset led us to create the Diamond DXCC Challenge.

The country list we will use for the Diamond DXCC Challenge is based upon the list of 231 places shown in 1937. We tried to find corresponding entities today that would represent the places listed in 1937, but there are four places (Baluchistan, British Cameroons, Canal Zone, Hejas) which were on the oldest list that just don’t exist today in a form that could even loosely be represented by someplace current. The Diamond DXCC List represents 227 of the 233 1937 “countries.” The list is fascinating and leads us to learn more about world history and how geopolitics has changed leading up to today.

As you “check-off” these entities during the course of 2012 working DX (which is an achievement even today) using spotting networks, pan-adapters, 200 watt rigs, and stacked tribanders, imagine how DXing was different in the early years of radio and DXCC! Working Tibet or Aldabra with 50 watts and crystal-controlled transmitters to simple wire antennas, had to be a thrill like no other in that time for ham radio operators.

We anticipate that this award will be very popular thanks to the unique nature of the entities which we will try to put-into the log in 2012. Not only are there traditional DXCC entities, but there are cities, Islands on the Air (IOTA by RSGB) island groups, and various sub-political entities inside DXCC entities, such as the Indian State of Goa and many States in Malaysia and islands in Indonesia. There are even three individual “countries” that make up today’s Yemen (7O — Yemen, Socotra Islands and the City of Aden)! Yes, we would like to have even one of them on the air. An interesting factoid about this 1937 list came via the late Jim Maxwell, W6CF. Jim said the only entity from the 1937 list to be removed without a single QSO being made was Wrangel Island.

For some entities that today consist of multiple countries, you may work any of today’s entities to qualify for that single, 1937 country. For example, French Equatorial Africa will be considered worked if you log a station in TL, TN, TR or TT in 2012. The Diamond DXCC country tables show the current entity names and prefixes that qualify for the 1937 countries.

The Diamond DXCC Challenge is an “Honor Award” and will not require acquisition or inspection of QSLs or proof of confirmation, although it still will be fun and useful to seek out cards or LoTW confirmations. We will provide forms online to use at your operating position to track what you have worked and forms for applying for awards and endorsements. As the year goes on, we will also provide hints and tips about what is happening with the Diamond DXCC Award and for instance, who might be on the air from Goa or Gdansk!

The Diamond DXCC certificate will be available for working 100 of the 226 entities, and will be endorsable at 5 levels: 125, 150, 175, 200 and 225. If anyone works all 226, there will be a special award for that remarkable achievement! We hope to publish award recipients’ call signs online during the year, and identify high numbers.

There will be a Diamond DXCC Challenge Honor Roll. The Honor Roll level will be determined by the leader in worked entities submitted to HQ, and the bottom of the Honor Roll will be 9 entities less than that of the leader. Example: If W1AW has worked 165 entities, the bottom of the Honor Roll will be 156 entities. In February, 2013, HQ will issue a final Honor Roll tally with overall leaders.

See the Diamond DXCC web page for more information and to read updates during 2012.

ARRL Diamond DXCC Challenge Rules

1. The Diamond DXCC Challenge Awards are available to all amateurs worldwide who contact a minimum of 100 countries from the Diamond DXCC List. US amateurs must be members of the ARRL. Generally, the rules for the Diamond DXCC Challenge are the same as the rules for the DXCC Program, except as listed here.

2. Contacts must be made from within the same DXCC entity by the same operator.

3. Contacts must be made during 2012 — from 0000Z on 1 January, 2012, through 2359Z on 31 December, 2012. All amateur bands may be used except for 60 meters.

4. There are no mode endorsements or band endorsements. The Diamond DXCC Challenge is considered to be a Mixed-Mode/Mixed-Band award. There are no power categories or restrictions for the award.

5. Confirmations are not required to obtain this award, but HQ will review submitted entries for accuracy and validity.

6. The Diamond DXCC Challenge certificate will be available for working 100 entities and will be endorsable with stickers at the following levels: 125, 150, 175, 200 and 225.

7. Applications should use ARRL-supplied forms available online or obtained by writing DXCC, 225 Main St., Newington, CT 06111.

8. The Diamond DXCC Award certificate fee is $12 including shipping within the USA, and $13 including shipping outside the USA.

9. Endorsement stickers are $1, including shipping in the US, and $2 outside the US.

http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-diamond-dxcc-challenge

http://www.arrl.org/diamond-dxcc

I’m going to look a bit more at this to see if I can put into my 2012 Radio goals!

73

Steve
K9ZW

Challenging the ARRL on the Website 18 - December - 2011

Posted by k9zw in Amateur Radio, K9ZW, K9ZW Just Rambled.
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4 comments

I originally started writing this back in September of 2010  and had left it as a draft, hoping that the ARRL  would quickly correct the flaws in its new website.

Alas that is not to be, and despite communications with some of the officers at the league,  including face-to-face conversations with them at Dayton, nothing much has changed.

The prior text based version was a daily favorite. Seldom a day went by that I didn’t have a look at it. Now I hardly ever look at the league’s website even with all the e-mails and feeds they put out to try and draw traffic.

Is this a case of more is less, of adding features takes away utility? Where the old site perhaps was a little bit behind in fashion, it was ahead technology–or at least the communication of technology. The new site has more Internet sizzle, much of which disguises or outright conceals  any actual content. Rather expect if the membership was provided the before and after hit count for the number of accesses made each day that the investment in the shiny new version may not stack up very well.

Not that one would recommend going back to the old version, but perhaps something a little bit more smart phone sensitive, low bandwidth sensitive, and higher content versus sizzle ratio, would go down well with all parts of the target audience?

What do you think?

73

Steve
K9ZW

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