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Overseas Membership Fees, no longer such a bargain. G0KZZ on 9/6/12
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.
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