Ham radio magazines have been part of my life for fifty years. The best of them all was actually called “Ham Radio Magazine”. Remember it?
Although magazine revenue and readership has been declining, the number of titles is holding steady. News magazines seem to do best. Niche magazines have trouble competing with special interest web sites and Google searches. Do you still subscribe to ham radio magazines?
For many years, the big four English language ham radio magazines were QST, CQ Amateur Radio, 73 and Ham Radio Magazine. Two of these are still around. QST has been published by the Amateur Radio Relay League since 1915, although it took a short break during WWI. CQ Amateur Radio started its run in 1945 just after the second world war. Both feature operating and technical articles, as well as sponsor lots of contests.
I still subscribe to QST, which means “calling all stations”. Actually, it’s my only magazine subscription at present since I discontinued The Economist. And, until recently, I read CQ Amateur Radio online through my local public library, but they discontinued the shared subscription.
If you have been a ham for a while you probably remember 73, published by the colorful Wayne Green between 1960 and 2003. Wayne always had some rant going, but there were some good technical articles, too.
Generally, you can find indices for all of these magazines on line. If you are an ARRL member, you can find old QST issues and articles on their web site and that comes in handy. Occasionally, authors of articles in these magazines get permission to post a copy openly on the web in a PDF.
Good news is that you can buy CD collections or archives of all these magazines. It’s a lot easier to keep old copies in digital form, and I have finally thrown out boxes of old hard copies. Finally, you can read an open archive of 73 magazine at no charge.
Ham Radio Magazines – Ham Radio was the best!
But my absolute favorite was Ham Radio Magazine, published from 1967-1990. It featured 268 issues full of great technical articles, ranging from beginner to advanced. The only thing close today is QEX from ARRL.
Ham Radio Magazine attracted great authors. By 1978, when Dr. Ulrich Rhode, DJ2LR started writing articles on modern receiver design, I was totally hooked. I actually met Dr. Rhode at an NAB Convention in 1980 and had a long chat about receivers, and so began my forty year interest in receiver design.
Although dated, my digital archive of Ham Radio Magazine is still a “go to” reference source.