There has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth over QST magazine’s transition from print to digital format as an ARRL cost-cutting measure. As a Life Member who has an option, I’m ready to go all digital. I write this with the printed edition of the latest QST on the counter, with the front cover mostly ripped off it along with several of the first pages being mangled. This isn’t the first time.

It’s not unreadable, but it sure ain’t pretty no more.

Besides the mangled mess left by the postal service, I also have to allocate space to store printed literature. Even worse for the ARRL, I don’t read QST anymore, at least not like it’s a periodical. I only reference articles when the need arises. For instance, say I’m considering purchasing something and discover there’s a review of it on page 46 of the January 2021 edition, I look it up online and read it on the computer.

I haven’t just sat down with a QST magazine and flipped through the pages in a long time. I’m better served by the digital archive and the ability to search for items of interest to be viewed later. I recognize this is a losing strategy for the publishing industry. Advertisers want eyeballs on their paid adverts as soon as possible and my approach to QST breaks that model.

Frankly, I expect even this will become unworkable over the coming years and we will see additional disruption for these kinds of periodicals. 73 is dead. CQ is dead. How much longer can ARRL afford to keep producing QST in any format and on any regular schedule? It seems likely with the demise of print we might eventually see QST move from a monthly to a quarterly publication.

Now that I think about it, that might have been a better option than going all digital in the first place?

Ham radio news always breaks between editions of QST anyway and in this day and age surely no one still sees QST as a “timely news source” unless they live off-grid. There are at least a dozen good sources for amateur radio news and none of them are QST magazine. For that matter, none of them are the ARRL Web site either. Another problem in bad need of fixing.

The problems are legion and daunting for our fellow hams at HQ and they all could probably use a hug right about now.