Author Archives: kaysavetz

Using DLARC, Amateur Radio Operators are Resurrecting Technical Ideas from the Past, Using 21st Century Tech

A Thank You to Internet Archive’s Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications
by Steve Stroh N8GNJ

In 2021, I was a member of the committee that recommended approval of a significant grant from Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) to Internet Archive to create the Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications (DLARC). I could foresee the potential of DLARC then… but I couldn’t then imagine the scale of what DLARC would become, nor how useful DLARC would prove to be for the entirety of the Amateur (Ham) Radio community worldwide.

In my newsletter Zero Retries, I write about interesting developments in Ham Radio to folks like me whose primary interest in Ham Radio is experimenting with the more advanced technological possibilities of Ham Radio. Such developments include communicating with data modes locally and worldwide (Packet Radio), using Ham Radio satellites and communicating with Ham Radio astronauts on the International Space Station, and developing M17, a new two way radio technology based entirely on open source (to mention just a few).

One of my favorite ways to use the DLARC (nearly 120,000 items now, and still growing) is to re-explore ideas that were proposed or attempted in Ham Radio, but for various reasons, didn’t quite become mainstream. Typically, the technology of earlier eras simply wasn’t up to some proposed ideas. But, with the technology of the 2020s such as cheap, powerful computers and software defined radio technology, many old ideas can be reexamined with perhaps succeed in becoming mainstream now. The problem has been that much of the source material for such “reimagining” has been languishing in file cabinets or bookcases of Ham Radio Operators like me, with nowhere to go. With the grant, IA could hire a dedicated archivist and began receiving, scanning, hosting, and aggregating electronic versions of old Ham Radio material.

One of my favorite examples of maybe we should try this again? is a one page flyer for a radio unit designed for data – the  NW Digital Radio UDRX-440. That radio was a leading-edge idea in 2013, but didn’t become a product. One reason for that fate was that it required a small but powerful computer that NW Digital Radio was forced to develop itself, which was expensive. More than a decade later, the computer that NW Digital Radio required, with a quad-core, 1.8 GHZ processor and 1 GB of RAM is available off-the-shelf – for $35. Perhaps it’s time for an innovative Ham Radio manufacturer to try creating something like the UDRX-440 again. Being able to provide a link to illustrate such a concept, and prove that one manufacturer got as far as the design stage, can be inspirational.

Another example maybe we should try this again? is the PACSAT system, a data-communications protocol and hardware specification for Ham Radio satellites that combined multiple receivers with a single high speed transmitter for more efficient throughput of data. In the 1990s, PACSAT was proposed and several satellites were actually built and put into orbit. But then, PACSAT required dedicated, expensive, specialized hardware suitable only for a satellite. In the 2020s, a PACSAT system could replace a Ham Radio repeater with a software defined receiver (can now listen to multiple frequencies) and a few other off-the-shelf parts. The difference that DLARC makes is that all the original reference material for PACSAT can easily be found in DLARC. If some graduate student were to email me looking for a project, I can suggest that they create a “PACSAT 2025” – and point them to all of the PACSAT material in DLARC.

Many new Ham Radio Operators live in “restricted” living arrangements such as apartments, condominiums, or communities that don’t allow external antennas. Thus, to operate on the Ham Radio “High Frequency – HF” bands (shortwave) bands, some “creativity” is required – a stealthy antenna. One of my favorite collections within DLARC is 73 Magazine which was published monthly for 43 years, with many, many antenna construction articles such as the “compressed W3EDP” HF antenna that would fit into an attic. Unlike current Ham Radio magazines, all 516 issues of 73 Magazine can be browsed, and downloaded, and because Internet Archive does optical character recognition (OCR), every word of every issue is keyword searchable.That, is powerful and ample “food for the imagination” of Ham Radio Operators looking to the past for some interesting projects to tackle.

Those are just a few examples of the utility of DLARC from my perspective. Ham Radio has existed for more than a century, but prior to DLARC, there was no comprehensive online archive of Ham Radio material. There were some personal archives, some Ham Radio clubs and organizations had their newsletters online, but there was no comprehensive online archive of Ham Radio material. DLARC is now the archive that Ham Radio has been missing. Most significantly, unlike some Ham Radio organizations, material in DLARC is free for public access (though some material is subject to Controlled Digital Lending). DLARC includes club newsletters (from all over the world), Ham Radio books and magazines (some from very early in the 20th century), audio recordings, video recordings, conference proceedings… literally a treasure trove of knowledge and ideas and inspiration.

Thank you Internet Archive and Archivist Kay Savetz K6KJN for all the hard work in creating and growing Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications – we really appreciate it (and I use it nearly every day).

Steve Stroh
Amateur Radio Operator N8GNJ
Bellingham, Washington, USA

DLARC Preserves “Ham Radio & More” Radio Show

Ham Radio & More was a radio show about amateur radio that was broadcast from 1991 through 1997. More than 300 episodes of the program are now available online as part of the Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications (DLARC).

Ham Radio & More was the first radio show devoted to ham radio on the commercial radio band. It began as a one-hour show on KFNN 1510 AM in Phoenix, Arizona, then expanded to a two-hour format and national syndication. The program’s host, Len Winkler, invited guests to discuss the issues of the day and educate listeners about various aspects of the radio hobby. Today the episodes, some more than 30 years old, provide an invaluable time capsule of the ham radio hobby.

Photograph of dozens of cassette tape cases, each with hand-written labels indicating air date and topic of that episode.
just some of the HR&M cassette tapes

Len Winkler said, “I’m so happy that the Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications took all my old shows and made them eternally available for everyone to hear and enjoy. I had the absolute pleasure, along with a few super knowledgeable co-hosts, to interview many of the people that made ham radio great in the past and now everyone can go back and listen to what they had to say. From the early beginnings of SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) to Senator Barry Goldwater to the daughter of Marconi. So much thanks to the Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications for doing this amazing service.”

Other interviewees included magazine publisher Wayne Green, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, Bob Heil, Bill Pasternak, Fred Maia, and other names well known to the amateur radio community. Discussion topics spanned the technical, such as signal propagation, to community issues, including the debate over the Morse code knowledge requirement for ham radio operators—a requirement eventually dropped, to the benefit of the community.

The radio programs were recorded on cassette tapes when they originally aired. Winkler digitized 149 episodes of the show himself in 2015 and 2016. The digitizing project paused for years. In January 2024 he sent the remaining cassettes to DLARC. Using two audio digitizing workstations, we digitized another 165 episodes in about three weeks. The combined collection is now available online: a total of 464 hours of programming, most of which have not been heard since their original air date. The collection represents nearly every episode of the show: only a few tapes went missing over the years or were unrepairable. 

The Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications is funded by a grant from Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) to create a free digital library for the radio community, researchers, educators, and students. DLARC invites radio clubs and individuals to submit material in any format. To contribute or ask questions about the project, contact: Kay Savetz at kay@archive.org or on Mastodon at dlarc@mastodon.radio.

DLARC Amateur Radio Library Tops 90,000 Items

Internet Archive’s Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications has grown to more than 90,000 resources related to amateur radio, shortwave listening, amateur television, and related topics. The newest additions to the free online library include ham radio magazines and newsletters from around the world, podcasts, and discussion forums.

Additions to the newsletter category include The Capitol Hill Monitor, a newsletter for and by scanner radio enthusiasts in the Washington, D.C. region — a complete run from 1992 through today. DLARC has also added more than 300 issues of Florida Skip and its follow-on magazine, SKIP CyberHam, donated by the family of the publisher. Both Capitol Hill Monitor and Florida Skip are online for the first time, scanned from the original paper.

DLARC has also added newsletters from an additional 35 ham radio clubs in the United States and Canada, including hundreds of issues from the Orange County (California) Amateur Radio Club, the Northern California Contest Club, Palo Alto Amateur Radio Association, Acadiana (Lafayette, Louisiana) Amateur Radio Association, Mesilla Valley (New Mexico) Radio Club, and others. 

New additions of Canadian club newsletters include 900 issues from the Lakehead Amateur Radio Club in Ontario, the Montreal Amateur Radio Club, and the Halifax Amateur Radio Club. Raleigh (North Carolina) Amateur Radio Society contributed more than 700 issues of its Exciter newsletter, which DLARC scanned for the first time. Fort Wayne (Indiana) Radio Club has contributed newsletters and other material documenting its 100-year history. The Society of Wireless Pioneers, a program of the California Historical Radio Society, contributed documents going back to its founding in 1968.

The Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club donated hundreds of radio manuals, catalogs, and magazines — literally emptying file cabinets of material. DLARC has scanned them all and made the trove available online.

DLARC has expanded its collection of e-mail and Usenet conversations about ham radio from the early days of the Internet, with the addition of thousands of messages from Glowbugs Digest, an early Internet discussion list about tube-based radios. This collection includes posts spanning November 1995 through March 1998.

DLARC has also added more than 750 books and articles written by Donald Lancaster, the American author, inventor, and microcomputer pioneer who died earlier this year; and scans of hundreds of vintage electronics and radio catalogs.

New additions of podcasts and videos include 200 episodes of the defunct Southgate Vibes podcast from the UK; the Ham Radio Guy podcast; and archives of ham radio YouTube channels KM6LYW Radio and HB9BLA Wireless. More than 1,400 historic recordings and contemporary audio clips are available courtesy of The Shortwave Radio Audio Archive.

Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications is funded by a grant from Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) to create a free digital library for the radio community, researchers, educators, and students. DLARC invites radio clubs and individuals to submit material in any format. If have questions about the project or material to contribute, contact:

Kay Savetz, K6KJN
Program Manager, Special Collections
kay@archive.org
Mastodon: dlarc@mastodon.radio

DLARC Radio Library Surpasses 75,000 Items of Ham Radio, Shortwave History

A cartoon of a huge library of books, with a tall ladder to reach the upper stacks. A person, who seems dwarfed by the shelves of books, sits on the floor reading.

Internet Archive’s Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications continues to expand its collection of online resources about ham radio, shortwave, amateur television, and related communications. The library has grown to more than 75,000 items, with new resources including newsletters, podcasts, and conference presentations.

DLARC has recently added hundreds of presentations recorded by RATPAC, the Radio Amateur Training Planning and Activities Committee, and dozens of talks given at the MicroHams Digital Conference.

DLARC is adding newsletters from amateur radio groups around the world: the latest additions include 1,400 news bulletins from Irish Radio Transmitters Society going back to 1998, and more than 600 newsletters from ​​the Worldwide TV-FM DX Association, a hobby club devoted to long-distance television and FM communications. The library has also added newsletters from regional groups across the United States, including the Anchorage (Alaska) Amateur Radio Club, Indianapolis (Indiana) Radio Club, the Pikes Peak (Colorado Springs, Colorado) Radio Amateur Association, and a dozen other organizations. Many of these newsletters have never been posted to the Internet before. All are full-text searchable, and can be read online or downloaded.

Internationally known radio host Glenn Hauser has allowed decades of his radio content to be archived in the DLARC library, including 1,200 episodes of World of Radio, which explores communications from around the world, especially shortwave radio; Informe DX and Mundo Radial, Spanish language translations of World of Radio; Continent of Media, a program about media around the American continent; and Hauserlogs, shortwave listening diaries. 

International Radio Report, a program about radio in Montreal Canada and around the world, has also been archived in the library with episodes going back to 2000. Many of these episodes, spanning May 2000 through March 2005, have not been available online for more than a decade, restoring access to important contemporary reporting.

DLARC continues to expand its collection of ham radio e-mail and Usenet conversations from the early days of the Internet, with the addition of nearly 3,500 QRP-L Digest mailings spanning 1993 through 2004. QRP-L was an early Internet e-mail list for discussion of the design, construction, and use of low-power radio equipment.

The collection of ham radio-related podcasts has reached 5,500 episodes with the additions of 100 Watts and a Wire, The World According to Elmer, and 30 episodes of The Rain Report that were thought to be lost. 

The Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications is funded by a grant from Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) to create a free digital library for the radio community, researchers, educators, and students. DLARC invites radio clubs and individuals to submit material in any format. To contribute or ask questions about the project, contact:

Kay Savetz, K6KJN
Program Manager, Special Collections
kay@archive.org
Mastodon: dlarc@mastodon.radio

DLARC Amateur Radio Library Adds 10,000 Magazines, Bulletins, Newsletters, and Podcasts

Drawing of a woman wearing headphones sitting in front of a microphone. Her sweater vest has the logo for Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications. The number 61,000! is drawn in large numbers above her head

Launched just five months ago, Internet Archive’s Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications has expanded to more than 61,000 items related to amateur radio, shortwave listening, and related communications. The library’s newest additions include deep historical resources and contemporary reporting about the world of radio.

These include Amateur Radio Newsline, a weekly audio news bulletin: DLARC has added audio and scripts of about 700 episodes published from 2012 to the present, plus scripts for many Newsline episodes from the mid-1990s.

The library has also added 2,300 issues of DX Listening Digest, a newsletter about shortwave and DX radio published from 2000 through 2019. Its predecessor, Glenn Hauser’s Shortwave/DX Report, is also in this collection. Through these publications, 20 years of news about radio-world events are available to read, search, and download.

The DLARC Lending Library has expanded to more than 400 books for online borrowing via controlled digital lending. These books encompass all technical levels, from very basic to highly advanced. DLARC has also added thousands of issues of radio- and communications- related magazines and trade journals including Radio Electronics Magazine, QEX, Tele-tech, and Electronic Industries.

But not everything in the radio world is as mainstream: the library has added back issues of two newsletters that cover the fascinating world of numbers stations, pirate radio, and other odd activity of the radio waves: Numbers & Oddities and Enigma 2000. Nor is everything in English, such as Populaire Electronica and Elektronika Hobbie, Dutch-language magazines for electronics hobbyists published 1974 through 1980.

Ham radio clubs from around the world continue to contribute their newsletters and other creations. DLARC has added more than 300 newsletters from the Quarter Century Wireless Association, the international organization for amateur radio operators who were first licensed at least 25 years ago. New regional group newsletters include 340 issues of The GARzette, from Gwinnett Amateur Radio Society (Gwinnett County, Georgia); The Radiogram, from Portage County (Ohio, USA) Amateur Radio Service; 700 issues of CrossTalk, from Gloucester County (New Jersey) Amateur Radio Club; and NEVARC News, the newsletter of North East Victoria Amateur Radio Club, based in Australia. 

Clubs’ contributions are not limited to newsletters. The Athens (Georgia) Radio Club has submitted more than 100 items to the DLARC library, including newsletters, meeting minutes, presentations, annual reports, and event photos.

For newsletters that were short-loved or where DLARC has been able to find only a few issues, there’s the new Miscellaneous Amateur Radio Newsletters collection. This enticing compilation includes YouthNet News, a short-lived, kid-published 1994 e-zine; 7415, a 1990 newsletter for “Internet Pirate Radio Listeners”; W5YI Report, 1984’s “up-to-the minute news of amateur radio and personal computing”; and Fidonet HAM-PACKET Digest, featuring packet radio news from the early 1990s.

DLARC continues to add ham radio e-mail and Usenet conversations from the early days of the Internet, including discussion threads from Ham-Policy Digest, which was a discussion list about amateur radio regulations; Ham-Equip Digest, about hardware and equipment; Ham-Space Digest, on space and satellite communications; and Ham-Ant Digest, about antenna topics.

The DLARC Podcast Collection now includes more than 40 podcasts — nearly 3,000 episodes in all. The latest additions include Ham Radio Workbench and the call-in show Ham Talk Live. Other additions include a dozen defunct podcasts: no longer published and hard to find online, now they remain part of the history of the amateur radio hobby.

The Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications is funded by a grant from Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) to create a free digital library for the radio community, researchers, educators, and students. DLARC invites radio clubs and individuals to submit collections of material, whether it’s already in digital format or not. Anyone with material to contribute or questions about the project, contact:

Kay Savetz, K6KJN
Program Manager, Special Collections
kay@archive.org
Mastodon: dlarc@mastodon.radio

Archive for Amateur Radio Grows to 51,000 Items

Internet Archive’s Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications is quickly growing to become an important archive of radio’s past and present. The collection has blossomed to well over 51,000 items related to ham radio, shortwave listening, scanners, and related communications. The newest additions include books, journals and magazines, newsletters, and archives of early Internet discussion lists.

More than 3,300 books and magazines are now available via controlled digital lending in the DLARC lending library. These materials, including hundreds of magazine and journal issues including Popular Electronics, RF Design, and General Radio Experimenter, can be borrowed for online or offline reading, one reader at a time, by anyone with a free Internet Archive account. DLARC has also added amateur radio magazines QST from 1912-1961, Radio & Television News from 1919-1959, and Radio magazine from 1920-1947.

Nearly 1,300 episodes of The RAIN Report, an audio program that aired news and interviews relevant to the amateur radio community from 1985-2019, are now available, including hundreds of lost episodes, thanks to the help of the program’s producer, Hap Holly. DLARC has also added the 700-episode library of the National Radio Club DX Audio Service, which reported radio-related news from 1985 through 2015.

The archive of radio-related podcasts now includes QSO Today, Linux in the Ham Shack, RAIN Hamcast, Amateur Logic, and others. 

Radio clubs are utilizing the DLARC archive to provide long-term backup of content and increase their visibility to new audiences. The Milwaukee Radio Amateurs’ Club, one of the oldest ham radio groups, is uploading its entire historical archive, an unparalleled collection of newsletters, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and meeting minutes documenting the group’s history. 

Other group newsletters include British Amateur Television Club’s CQ-TV, the CWops Solid Copy newsletter for Morse code enthusiasts, Boulder Amateur Television Club TV Repeater’s REPEATER, and Scope, the newsletter of the Palomar Amateur Radio Club. The DLARC library has also added newsletters from radio clubs around the world, including the Dutch Amateur Radio Union, the Chester & District Radio Society (England), and the defunct Canadian Amateur Radio Operators’ Association.

DLARC now archives papers and presentation slides from 41 years of TAPR conferences, including the ARRL and TAPR Digital Communications Conference, and the Computer Networking Conference. The collection is accessible like never before, full-text searchable and with detailed metadata. In addition, TAPR’s Packet Status Register newsletter, published since 1982, is also archived.

DLARC has also begun archiving amateur radio email discussion lists, so far making tens of thousands of discussion threads available and searchable — going as far back as the late 1980s — for the first time in decades. The selection includes INFO-HAMS Digest, Boatanchors (a mailing list for fans of vacuum tube radios), Packet-Radio Digest, and Ham-Digital Digest.

DLARC is funded by a significant grant from Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) to create a digital library that documents, preserves, and provides open access to the history of this community.

The Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications invites radio clubs and individuals to submit collections of material, whether they are already in digital format or not. Anyone with material to contribute, questions about the project, or interest in creating a digital library for other professional communities, please contact:

Kay Savetz, K6KJN
Program Manager, Special Collections
kay@archive.org
Mastodon: dlarc@mastodon.radio

Digital Library of Amateur Radio & Communications Surpasses 25,000 Items

In the six weeks since announcing that Internet Archive has begun gathering content for the Digital Library of Amateur Radio and Communications (DLARC), the project has quickly grown to more than 25,000 items, including ham radio newsletters, podcasts, videos, books, and catalogs. The project seeks additional contributions of material for the free online library.

You are welcome to explore the content currently in the library and watch the primary collection as it grows at https://archive.org/details/dlarc.

The new material includes historical and modern newsletters from diverse amateur radio groups including the National Radio Club (of Aurora, CO); the Telford & District Amateur Radio Society, based in the United Kingdom; the Malta Amateur Radio League; and the South African Radio League. The Tri-State Amateur Radio Society contributed more than 200 items of historical correspondence, newspaper clippings, ham festival flyers, and newsletters. Other publications include Selvamar Noticias, a multilingual digital ham radio magazine; and Florida Skip, an amateur radio newspaper published from 1957 through 1994.The library also includes the complete run of 73 Magazine — more than 500 issues — which are freely and openly available.  

More than 300 radio related books are available in DLARC via controlled digital lending. These materials may be checked out by anyone with a free Internet Archive account for a period of one hour to two weeks. Radio and communications books donated to Internet Archive are scanned and added to the DLARC lending library.

Amateur radio podcasts and video channels are also among the first batch of material in the DLARC collection. These include Ham Nation, Foundations of Amateur Radio, the ICQ Amateur/Ham Radio Podcast, with many more to come. Providing a mirror and archive for “born digital” content such as video and podcasts is one of the core goals of DLARC.

Additions to DLARC also include presentations recorded at radio communications conferences, including GRCon, the GNU Radio Conference; and the QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo. A growing reference library of past radio product catalogs includes catalogs from Ham Radio Outlet and C. Crane.

DLARC is growing to be a massive online library of materials and collections related to amateur radio and early digital communications. It is funded by a significant grant from Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) to create a digital library that documents, preserves, and provides open access to the history of this community. 

Anyone with material to contribute to the DLARC library, questions about the project, or interest in similar digital library building projects for other professional communities, please contact:

Kay Savetz, K6KJN
Program Manager, Special Collections
kay@archive.org
Mastodon: dlarc@mastodon.radio