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Surfin’: Old Magazines and More Ducks

05/18/2012

By Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
Contributing Editor

This week, Surfin’ tries to unclutter the house and learns about more open source software.

Old Magazines Fill My House

I have copies of every issue of QST going back to the mid-1960s, when I first became interested in ham radio. In addition to QST, I also have mass quantities of QEX, NCJ, CQ, Ham Radio, 73, Popular Communications and numerous other radio, electronic and computer hobbyist magazines, not to mention a complete run of Mad magazines, Red Sox yearbooks and nearly every Marvel comic book published between 1961-1969 all sans covers (my dad printed the guts of the comic books; someone else’s dad printed the covers).

Before things got out of hand (or did they already?), I began migrating my magazine subscriptions from paper to bits. My CQ and Popular Communications subscriptions are now digital, as well as some of my non-radio magazine subscriptions like Juxtapoz and Rolling Stone. And real, real soon now, QST will be digital, too!

That solves the problem for the future, but what about all those periodicals from the past that are gathering dust all over the house?

QST is easy. I -- and any ARRL member -- can access the contents of past issues (four years and older) using the ARRL Periodicals Archives. Past issues of Ham Radio, NCJ and QEX are available there, too, so I can deposit a significant portion of my collection in the recycling bin.

What about the rest? Time will tell; maybe they will get digitized, too.

More Open Source Ducks

Following up on the open source software discussion two weeks ago, other readers (Robert Greenfield, VE5DSC, and Donald Ohse, W5DRO) suggested other open source alternatives to Microsoft Office.

I proffered the alternative that I use: Apache OpenOffice, but some of you use and prefer LibreOffice and/or NeoOffice.

On the radio-related open source software front, Elwood Downey, WB0OEW, praised SimSmith, the brainchild of Ward Harriman, AE6TY. Besides being “an excellent interactive Smith Chart,” it includes the ability to design and analyze matching networks theoretically or with real measured load data. The code even includes loss calculations, which other tools simply ignore. 

By the way, the reason for the open source discussion (finding software to lay out PSR, the quarterly newsletter of TAPR) was solved and you can view the results here.

Until next time, keep on surfin'!

Editor’s note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, seeks the unusual in radio. To contact Stan, send e-mail or add comments to the WA1LOU blog.



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