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Overseas Membership Fees, no longer such a bargain.

Mar 18th 2012, 18:46

G0KZZ

Joined: Apr 23rd 2007, 09:36
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I've been an overseas member (in the UK) of the ARRL for a number of years now, and throughout all of that time I felt that I was having a good deal for my $39 each year.

I don't like printed magazines laying around all over the place, so the yearly CD compilation was just the job, with QST, QSX and NCJ journals, all on one neat disk.

During that 'early' period I convinced a number of UK Hams to become overseas members, pointing out what excellent service they would obtain.

However my heart began to sink when I received the first 'messages' via email telling me how wonderful the new Digital Edition of QST would be, because reading the fine print revealed that as an overseas member I would no longer receive a yearly compilation CD though it could be purchased for an additional fee.

The result is pretty much a doubling in costs if I want to obtain the same service, with $39 for membership and an additional $25 for the CD. If I were to opt for the 2~4 week delivery I would need to pay $35 for the CD.

So $64 minimum, $74 if I opt for the 'speedier' 2~4 week delivery service!

Way to go ARRL, if the aim was to loose more members then mission accomplished I'd say.
Mar 20th 2012, 06:56

wc5b

Joined: Mar 19th 2012, 14:18
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I really wish they left it all in one mag. Money is tight lately. I would love to get the info in NCJ, but just can't warrant the extra cost right now.
Mar 21st 2012, 00:13

G0KZZ

Joined: Apr 23rd 2007, 09:36
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Yeah, monies tight in the UK too. Our economy is on a real downer at the moment. Everyone seems to want more and more money for less and less.

I can't see me paying $39 just to say I'm an ARRL member. It's not like I ever need to use any of the facilities. At least with the compilation CD you felt as if you were getting something for your money.

This so called Digital Edition ploy is a joke. Why not say "Hey! Give me $39 a year and you can download a few PDF documents..."

It's all about profits and greed these days. Look at the RSGB in the UK. They got rid of their manager for making LOTS of funds disappear ;-)
Mar 23rd 2012, 19:59

NQ1R

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Beginning June 2012, all ARRL members will have access to the current digital edition of QST and the entire digital QST archive. This new membership benefit will be offered at no additional cost to ARRL members.

ARRL has long offered two international membership options; one with QST via mail, and the other without QST via mail. Formerly, international members not receiving QST by mail would receive an annual CD-ROM compilation of QST at the end of each year. This CD-ROM offering has been discontinued as a membership offering, since all members will have access to the new digital QST benefit beginning June. The annual CD-ROM will still be available, but sold separately.

International members will continue to have two membership options; one with QST via mail (USD $69/year), and the other without QST via mail (USD $39/year).

ARRL domestic membership, available in the US and US Territories, is $39/year and includes QST by mail.

We think you will really enjoy the digital edition of QST. It promises many benefits including timely delivery, ease-of-use, and enhancements including embedded video and expanded content.

73

Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R
ARRL Marketing Manager
nq1r@arrl.org
Mar 29th 2012, 10:40

W1RFIAdmin

Joined: Jul 25th 2011, 14:25
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Quote by wc5b
I really wish they left it all in one mag. Money is tight lately. I would love to get the info in NCJ, but just can't warrant the extra cost right now.


Actually, QEX and NCJ are quite a bit more than "all in one mag." As some members wanted more contesting articles, others wanted more high-tech articles and others wanted more general-interest and simpler construction articles INSTEAD of the contesting and high-tech articles, some of the contesting content and technical articles were moved to NCJ and QEX. The end result is that there are more articles on all three magazines than could be fit into one, at least not without making a much larger QST and significantly increasing dues to cover it.

No matter how it is done, there will be a number of members that would prefer it be done the other way, I fear. As a casual contester, I personally like the present arrangement. As a technical guy, I like the present arrangement because QEX contains a technical level that was NEVER featured in QST.

73,
Ed Hare, W1RFI
Mar 29th 2012, 10:50

W1RFIAdmin

Joined: Jul 25th 2011, 14:25
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Quote by G0KZZ
This so called Digital Edition ploy is a joke. Why not say "Hey! Give me $39 a year and you can download a few PDF documents..."

I do have one advantage over you in making this post because I have seen the digital edition of QST. Of course, I personally would not proclaim something to be "a joke" before I had seen it, but that's just my personal style.

The digital edition of QST is FAR more than "download a few pdf documents." It is the entire content of QST available in digital form, readable on any device that can access the Internet. In addition, in keeping with the digital nature of that format of QST, additional digital content, such as videos, sounds, etc., is being added, and that will get better with time.

Overseas members will now have full access to all of QST at the same time that US members do. IMHO, that is a much more attractive option than having to wait a full year to have access to the magazine electronically via CD.

Far from being the greed your post implied, this is an effort that has cost a fair amount of money to implement, intended to provide better service to ARRL members, especially those that were previously subject to postal delays obtaining QST.

These changes were not made in an attempt to sell a handful of additional CDs to overseas members. In fact, by making the past 3 years available for download, in addition to the older issues which have been available for download, ARRL could see the sale of the annual periodicals CD drop a bit (although many members will still prefer to have the files available directly on their own computers.)

There are some that observe that some hams will complain no matter what ARRL does. In this case, it has undertaken to provide the entire content of QST instantly to members and has made all of the back issues of QST available on line, at no cost to anyone except the organization's costs in file-server size, uploading files and member support for those that need some instruction on how to download a file. Speaking only for myself, I'd have to stretch pretty hard to find a basis to be displeased with this one. I sure wouldn't feel that this was a good example at all of "corporate greed."

73,
Ed Hare, W1RFI
Apr 7th 2012, 18:48

G0KZZ

Joined: Apr 23rd 2007, 09:36
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Hiya Ed

Quote: "Speaking only for myself, I'd have to stretch pretty hard to find a basis to be displeased with this one. I sure wouldn't feel that this was a good example at all of corporate greed."

Nothing personal here, but you can hardly be expected to give an unbiased response when you have been employed by the ARRL since 1986 as their Laboratory Manager!

If it really is no big deal to the ARRL then why not make the complilation CDs available as well as the online digital edition?

Or why not give members a choice of digital edition OR compilation CD?

The renewal form shows that international members can opt for a "print and digital QST" membership, so why not a CD and digital QST option?

Quote: "The digital edition of QST is FAR more than "download a few pdf documents." It is the entire content of QST available in digital form, readable on any device that can access the Internet. In addition, in keeping with the digital nature of that format of QST, additional digital content, such as videos, sounds, etc., is being added, and that will get better with time."

So what is this 'wonder format'? The description "...in digital form, readable on any device that can access the Internet..." certainly sounds like a PDF document to me. If not then again I ask what is the format that will be used? HTML? Java? What?

Quote: "There are some that observe that some hams will complain no matter what ARRL does."

This is the FIRST time I have complained about ANYTHING that the ARRL has done, and the reason for the complaint is that if I am expected to spend $39 a year for membership it would be nice to see something for it. In my case the 'something' was the annual arrival of a complilation CD. My concern is not with having instant access, but rather with having something of substance that I can see and hold, and place upon my shelf for future reference.

If the digital edition is such a 'wonderhorse' then hey, why not do away with the printed editions entirely? After all, the printed edition doesn't contain "...videos, sounds, etc." So get rid of it.

Also, as you pointed out, the digital edition will "provide the entire content of QST instantly to members", so why not get rid of that pesky printed version that takes maybe a few days to arrive?

I am a realist, I know empty hype when I see it. Give us back our free CD and I will complain no more...
Apr 9th 2012, 11:26

W1RFIAdmin

Joined: Jul 25th 2011, 14:25
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Quote by G0KZZ
Quote: "Speaking only for myself, I'd have to stretch pretty hard to find a basis to be displeased with this one. I sure wouldn't feel that this was a good example at all of corporate greed."

Nothing personal here, but you can hardly be expected to give an unbiased response when you have been employed by the ARRL since 1986 as their Laboratory Manager!

It is no more logical to say that than it would be for me to say that you can hardly expect to give an unbiased response in the other direction because you don't work for ARRL as staff. People can retain their integrity when they take jobs; in fact, most people do.

My financial success or failure as an employee of ARRL is not related to my views of the usefulness of digital QST; it is related to how well I do my job managing the ARRL Lab. Whether I post on a subject related to another part of ARRL is entirely my personal choice, at my personal discretion. And I can see value in the change to digital QST that is not related to my work in the ARRL Lab. It may be easier for you to believe that I am trying to mislead you because I work in the Lab at HQ, but you would be wrong.

Or why not give members a choice of digital edition OR compilation CD?

I can't completely answer that, except to note that the programming to try to keep track of which members wanted the new, instant access to QST every month and which chose not to want that and wanted to wait a year for a CD may not be trivial to do or manage.

The renewal form shows that international members can opt for a "print and digital QST" membership, so why not a CD and digital QST option?

Actually, although US members can choose to opt out of receiving the print edition, there is no financial advantage to them do so. Overseas members can opt to receive a print edition of QST, at additional cost or can opt to receive the CD at additional cost. The CD was sent to overseas members because it was expensive for them to receive the print edition, but now that the expense to them has been eliminated with the availability of QST on line, the CD option is now treated the same as the print option -- available at additional cost.

So what is this 'wonder format'? The description "...in digital form, readable on any device that can access the Internet..." certainly sounds like a PDF document to me. If not then again I ask what is the format that will be used? HTML? Java? What?

The format is described in the digital-edition FAQ on the ARRL.org website:

http://www.arrl.org/digital-qst-faq

If the digital edition is such a 'wonderhorse' then hey, why not do away with the printed editions entirely? After all, the printed edition doesn't contain "...videos, sounds, etc." So get rid of it.

I disagree strongly with your belief that ARRL should eliminate the print edition for all members because it has chosen to deliver QST to overseas members electronically every month instead of mailing a CD at the end of the year. You are saying that you choose not to receive the print edition, so I don't know why you want all ARRL members to not receive it either.

I am a realist, I know empty hype when I see it.

You do realize how personally insultive that is, I imagine...

I'm sorry that you see the time I have spent offering my personal perspective on the value of digital QST arriving to overseas members at the same time it is available to US members as "empty hype." It was not intended to mislead you in any way, but to offer my own views on the reasons for the change and the overall value of having instant access to QST instead of waiting as long as a year to see the issues.

Ed Hare, W1RFI
May 29th 2012, 03:47

VK5TM

Joined: Jul 17th 2010, 12:34
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I was also one of those 'overseas' members.

The basic point that you are missing is that, as an overseas member, the only 'service' available to us was the annual CD.

Now you have taken away that option, which had all THREE journals on it and left us with access to only ONE journal. That is a reduction in benefit for the price paid and is why I did not renew my membership. The wait for the CD to see the content of QST etc was of no consequence for me and I suspect not for other overseas members either.

The ARRL really has shot itself in the foot with this one, you only have to read the complaints on numerous other forums.

Terry Mowles VK5TM
Jun 1st 2012, 01:45

drbellerive

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Well, I just tried reading the on-line digital QST. I am not impressed.

The full page display is too small to read on my laptop screen, and the zoom feature is cumbersome. Once zoomed, one has to drag the page around with the mouse to view the page. Not fun on a touchpad. One cannot continue to scroll to the next page, but must click the arrow to advance to the next page. This is a big step backward from PDF files.

To download the magazine one must use Adobe AIR which is no longer supported for Linux, my operating system of choice. Also downloading is not available for tablet computers yet. So those of us without Windows systems are restricted to the on-line version. The nxtbook (ARRL's publishing partner) FAQ also only mentions downloading PDFs for Android based systems, so I wonder if downloads for Android based systems will ever be possible.

Also in the nxtbook FAQ it states a user is limited to a maximum of 2 computers that can have access. That seems very restrictive. I have three laptops, a desktop, and a tablet. Why should I have to choose which computer to use to view QST?

I too am miffed with the loss of the annual Periodicals CD-ROM. For me, QEX and the on-line periodical article search and access were my prime reasons for my ARRL membership. QST was a nice bonus, but if given the choice between QST and QEX, QEX would be my choice, hands down.

I also hope that the next Annual Periodical CD-ROM keeps the QST in PDF format and not the new Adobe AIR format.

I wish that the ARRL would give International members the choice of either QST, QEX, or NCJ in paper form, or the annual Periodicals CD-ROM with PDF versions of all three magazines. I would also like to see the on-line access to the periodical articles unrestricted as well. A few years ago, I could access everything, then the recent years are restricted. They have just opened up QST, but now all of QEX is restricted. This just sucks.

I keep getting less for my membership. Giving me the Digital QST and taking away the annual Periodicals CD-ROM and QEX articles on-line is a huge downgrade.

I am starting to see why there are so many hams with anti-ARRL views. I think I might be becoming one of them and I don't like it.

Darrell Bellerive VA7TO
Jun 9th 2012, 07:39

W6SO

Joined: Feb 6th 2007, 11:05
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I have to agree with G0KZZ and others, I have seen the digital edition of QST and I could not get it off my PC fast enough. I can certainly see why overseas members would be frustrated and feel cheated, particularly given that they previously had something physical to show for their subscription (membership) dollars and no longer do. Calling it a joke is probably inappropriate, a pain is more like it!

The digital edition is a monster to download, uses a non-standard format, consumes acres of disk space, etc, etc. A combination of using PDF formats for download along with something like Adobe AIR for real-time viewing would have been far better. I do not see how anyone can easily download and store QST in its current digital format, and if you cannot keep it, you do not have it! What, therefore, is the point of subscribing? If ARRL is not going to allow subscribers to keep their digital copies in an easily usable format, such as PDFs, they should just go with the same sort of online access that the RSGB uses for RADCOM. RADCOM is easily viewable on the web without any excessive downloading and that is that. Granted, I would prefer to have it as a PDF as well, but the combination of my printed copy and an easily accessible web version is a better solution than QST seems to have chosen.

Furthermore, while it is argued above that the design of the digital version of QST is unrelated to the desire to economize at subscriber's expense, that contention seems directly contradicted by the claim in the QST digital version FAQ which clearly states that the use of the non-standard format reader is tied to its ability to restrict readership (so called digital rights management). Subscriber convenience, indeed customer service, is being directly compromised for the sake of restricting access, almost certainly in the mistaken belief that this will somehow be to the ARRL's economic advantage.. This seems counter productive on a variety of levels, but let's be honest here, QST is hardly the sort of magazine that should really worry about pirating. How many people are really interested in stealing copies of QST? In fact, a little extra distribution would probably help increase circulation! Where a reader with a printed or PDF copy of QST could give it to a friend, perhaps convincing that friend to become a subscriber, that is now nearly impossible with the digital version.

Finally, as much as ARRL tries to say otherwise, or wishes it were not so, people generally do not view QST as a benefit of membership, they view membership as a tangential component of having a subscription to QST. Therefore, restricting QST readership is essentially restricting subscription / membership growth, not a good marketing idea.

-Danny.
W6SO
Jun 10th 2012, 03:22

AA6E

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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For the domestic readership at least, it's hard to say that anything is being "restricted" with the new digital QST. You still get the paper copy, and the digital version is provided for no extra cost. Let's not complain about "free". (Maybe you can't imagine people freeloading with non-DRMed digi QSTs, but some of us can.)

We can debate the digital format. I find it quite usable with my computers and Internet connection. I haven't looked at the off-line feature, but that is not intended (I hope) to be a long-term archive, for the reasons given in earlier messages (DRM, proprietary format, etc.).

The thing to focus on is the annual CDROM PDF distribution. As long as that continues to be available, there is hope. We can debate its pricing. (Basically, you're paying a premium to get a DRM-free version of QST, QEX, and NCJ. The cost of production must be very low.) Maybe overseas subscribers should get a break if they don't take the print version. Etc. But these are policies that can be tweaked as long as the PDF CDROMS are still produced.

Personally, I'd like to see an annual CDROM optionally bundled with the normal membership/subscription, perhaps for $5 extra. I.e., it should be seen as part of the subscription, not as a standalone product -- for those who subscribe, at least.

73 Martin AA6E
Jun 10th 2012, 17:31

KB0HAE

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Comment moved to General Q&A discussion
Jul 28th 2012, 21:59

gw0nvn

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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A bit 'tongue in cheek' But many years ago I paid for life membership at Dayton which is very easy for the ARRL. At the same time I paid the same for the RSGB. Which was very difficult. One of the best things I did. The only annoying thing was that I did not realise (Its not published by RSGB or ARRL ) is that the the fees are tax deductable in the United Kingdom.

However the inability to download QST to a phone due to its new digital format is a real pain. I use the pdf versions up to 2012 all the time now. Please don't use a proprietry DRM. Logging into your website and downloading QST is easy and can be used on most devices.

Is there a lifetime subscription to QEX?
Maybe send out the anual CD with the Christmas edition of QST. there's one in each handbook and many other books

All the very best

GW0NVN N1XIH

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