I was exchanging emails with a friend a few days ago and asked him if he still subscribed to SPRAT magazine. It’s a publication of the G-QRP Club. His response was “I still get SPRAT. It’s the only thing I read cover-to-cover”. His response didn’t really surprise me, it’s the only ham radio publication I read cover-to-cover too. There’s so much to unpack in each issue that it deserves more than a cursory glance. I relish taking it along to the coffee shop for long, slow reads.
I remain happy to receive QST Magazine as part of my Life Membership in ARRL, I just find it much less interesting. It has become the “Seinfeld” of ham radio publications, it’s about nothing in particular. The effort to appeal to a larger audience without offending any special interest makes it it a bit too milquetoast for my taste. There’s a perpetual backlog of “not read yet” QSTs on my desk. Sometimes I notice a particular equipment review appearing in a specific edition and I will dig that one out to read it. Otherwise, they could be printing pure gibberish and I probably wouldn’t notice.
SPRAT seems more real. It’s more like driving an automobile with a manual transmission, the interaction for the driver being that much closer to the road. The projects are more interesting and the authors are fellow members always ready to assist. Being a publication by and for QRPers I suppose it doesn’t hurt being a long-time low-power enthusiast. And being a club member, though distant, means even the general news is more interesting.
But there’s something else. I believe the printed, small magazine format also makes it more appealing. I remember when QST and CQ magazines were of a similar size and format. There is just something charming and cozy about being able to tote a magazine around wherever I go. They say everything changes, I hope SPRAT never does. Find out more here.