Should I renew my ARRL membership?

Anyway: I probably won’t. Or maybe I will?

I’ve been an ARRL member since 2002. I became a member as a newbie under impulse of one of my local club’s members. I was young and still had a lot to learn… Wouldn’t happen today. He argued that ARRL members enjoy a discount when applying for DXCC or an upgrade sticker. That’s what I did but soon after I lost interest in the DXCC award program and especially the money machine driving the endorsement sticker factory.

I did enjoy reading QST though. Even if half of it is either an ad or VHF/emcomm stuff that I mostly don’t even read. However for two or three years now, I don’t find that many interesting material in QST anymore. This spring I ploughed my way through almost a year of unopened QST wraps. Much to my surprise, I worked down that stack quite fast.

I am not bashing the ARRL because they can’t do that much for me as a non-US ham. I’m not putting down the editors of QST because they really do a fine job. It’s me: what’s in it is either old news or cannot raise my interest.

I don’t even keep the magazines. Once a year I offer all my QST magazines to a ham friend two towns away. He reads them and I think he then offers them to his club’s library.

A one year membership with 12 editions of QST costs $ 76 or € 65. It’s not that I can buy a new rig or amp with that so it is not a burden on the budget. But a while ago I adopted a new rule (not just in the hobby, in all aspects of life): I don’t spend money on something I have no use for. And I have no use for an ARRL membership and I will not miss QST.

The only thing I will miss is the online archive with the product reviews. But then again it’s not that I use that often (less than once a year) and in case of emergency I’m sure one of my US friends will be happy to forward a PDF.

The digital online QST is not my thing either. I’m not on the digital train yet (no smartphone, no tablet, no e-reader). I prefer tangible stuff. On the other hand there are so many online resources I consult that don’t even have a paper equivalent. This needs some reflecting.

I considered taking a subscription to NCJ. That would be a compromise: half the price (but also half the number of issues), and maybe that pure contest-related content might be more a match to my interest? And what with online (PDF?) issues of CQ Amateur Radio Magazine?

I think I will let my ARRL membership expire.

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