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Read On The Air Magazine

on the air magazine

Becky and her team have done a great job researching ham interests, then developing and publishing On The Air magazine from the ARRL.

Recently, I wrote about the additional value provided by an ARRL membership, namely access to all its magazines, not just QST. So, I have now been able to read the first three issues of On The Air magazine and it is pretty good.

Although On The Air magazine is aimed at newer hams, I think many seasoned amateurs will enjoy as well, for reasons described shortly. In the meantime, you might enjoy this interview with editor Becky Schoenfeld, W1BXY. She does a good job of explaining all the improvements at ARRL and their rationale.

On The Air is published bi-monthly. By the way, did you every wonder what “bi-monthly” means? Some of you will say it means twice a month. Others of you will say it means every two months. Turns out that “bi-monthly” is one of those wonderful words that means both. In the case of On The Air magazine, you get it every two months, just like QEX.

Anyway, I found a good balance of articles across three areas. First, operating and public service practices, including how to do things. Second, what I would call operating infrastructure, e.g. how repeaters work and how to buy gear. Finally, I came across lots of introductory theory and useful practices. These included ionospheric propagation, transmission lines, modulation and how to crimp coax connectors.

All of these content areas provide you with pathways to increase activity, learn more and participate more broadly in our amateur radio community. You will find a sample issue here. Unlike QST, On The Air is not trying to be all things to all people.

On The Air Magazine for Seasoned Hams Too

Our hobby is mostly a mile wide and an inch deep. What do I mean by this?

Well, amateur radio is extremely diverse from technical, operational and community perspectives. Most hams have a general understanding of a lot of things, but we only go deep into a few areas. So, you might be great at contesting but could not read a schematic if your life depended on it. You might maintain a local repeater but have no concept of HF propagation. Or you might know how to build a radio, but never get around to actually using it.

Nothing wrong with this. Just a fact. So, in On The Air, even seasoned hams might find useful introductory content to areas of our hobby they have never entered. Well done, Becky and team.

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