SARA  ARRL Info ~ last update: 15 Jan 2024

ARRL Website
American Radio Relay League [ARRL]

The American Radio Relay League is the national association for Amateur Radio in the US. Founded in 1914 by Hiram Percy Maxim as The American Radio Relay League, ARRL is a noncommercial organization of radio amateurs. ARRL and includes within its ranks the vast majority of active radio amateurs in the nation. The league has a proud history of achievements as the standard-bearer in amateur affairs. ARRL’s underpinnings as Amateur Radio’s witness, partner and forum are defined by five pillars: Public Service, Advocacy, Education, Technology, and Membership {These are major links to the ARRL based on each pillar.}

A bona fide interest in Amateur Radio is the only essential qualification of membership; an Amateur Radio license is not a prerequisite, although full voting membership is granted only to licensed radio amateurs in the US.

If you wish to learn more about membership see: ARRL Membership Benefits.

SARA is an 'ARRL Affiliated Club' and has been since January, 1958. For many years SARA was listed as a 'Special Service Club', but over time we stopped offering live license classes and our last SARA Hamfest was in August, 2014 at Baker College. SARA does operate Field Day (4th full weekend in June) and are trying to build interest in phone portion of November Sweepstakes (3rd full weekend in November). We also operate in the Michigan QSO contest (not an ARRL event). These three HF events are important to the basic foundations of SARA.

The fight for radio frequency allocations is an ongoing process that the ARRL leads for all U.S. Hams. See their website for lots of details on any portion of ham interests.

The ARRL publishes calendars for hamfests which are great local style flea market and social get together. The ARRL has several corresponding organizations in many other countries and each of them can be a valid source of additional ham radio information. Different countries have different rules for their hams and thus require different considerations which drive different operating environments.

The ARRL publishes  different magazines for Ham Operators. Starting in 2024 the major thrust is for 'electronic copies' to be the main focus in direction due to continued increases in cost for paper publishing costs. ARRL members have access to all back issues in electronic form (internet) content. They publish books on many various areas of interest for Hams. These usually are a cornerstone of an individual's knowledge and skill improvement in ham radio areas.

ARRL Member Magazine 'Online' Access

The online magazine access for ham radio can be an important reason to join the ARRL. A web 'hosting site' located in England is used for ARRL Member access to various issues. "QST" hosting here began Jan 2012 and then in Jan 2020, the other three publications went 'online' at this site in 2012 the "National Contest Journal [NCJ]" was added and finally in 2020, "QEX", "One the Air [OTA]" were added}. Publishing costs drove large cost increases for the paper versions and the paper versions are available for "extra fees" only, in effect driving electronic circulation to the forefront. The magazine aspects is a great benefit for ARRL members - You can join the ARRL based on different 'knowledge levels', each with a publishing cost consideration {Individual; Student; Family; and 'others'}. See this detailed information: ARRL Levels and make your support choice. Then you can go to Join/Renew here when it becomes time to renew. You will need your ARRL ID and password to get into the magazine web archive.

Getting there from the ARRL site is not hard, but the directions assume you know nothing and seem a little overkill. It seems to confuse some based on other members I have talked to. Hopefully the information here will make it a simpler process for you to get started. The real key is to know you must first view a 'current magazine issue' from the ARRL site before going looking for historical issues. That 'forces' you through the log-in process on the English site and access to the archives. Then clicking on the "archive button" allows access to all historical issues. This process allows a detailed choice of what you view your own.    

The ARRL magazines now are included 'online' for members using this site:

   Jan 2012  to  {current issue}  QST (for earlier issues - see below)   

   Jan 2012  to  {current issue}  National Contest Journal [NCJ]

   Jan 2020  to  {current issue}  QEX

   Jan 2020  to  {current issue}  On the Air [OTA]

The actual links to get to the viewing a page site are not super easy to locate on the ARRL site(s). The instruction guide seems actually 'over complicated' for just computer viewing on a web browser (27 pages // with 11 pages on using the Web), so here is a shorter set of instructions path. Here we made 'no attempt' to cover details for the other "App"s and for other portable devices (we will be computers only). You can view the ARRL guide directly here, ARRL instruction guide for help based on each of these 'other' devices). Once installed it appears they will work very similar to using a computer's web browser. We will only cover a computer's browser.

So, once you are an ARRL member (you need a member I.D.), go to ARRL Magazines page and under the magazine of your choice, click the "Members: read the latest issue of {your choice}" link. That will take you to the 'Log in' page, supply your Username and Password (same as ARRL page). Click the "Log in" at the bottom. After a few seconds (based on you internet properties) you will be at the 'current issue cover' on the "Viewer Page".  The control bar at the top of the page gives you control through the issue. The fourth icon from the left is "Archive", click that and you will be sent to a page to select the year you want to view, choosing there will allow you to select the month you want to view. All the control bars work similarly, it becomes easy after a few searches. 

Do you want earlier than 2012, do not stop here, just keep on reading.

QST Dec 1915 to Dec 2011 Issues

QST archive (and other magazine) are hosted directly on the ARRL site. Information can be found at: ARRL Periodical Archive Search. Go to the bottom of the page area to enter search information. The search/archive are a 'by article' search and return a "pdf" formatted file (not a per issue view). A little playing around here will get you started easily. NOTE: If you choose the 'leftside' menu options you get over to the 'current issue' on the English site - so if you wish to 'bookmark' this page you have a 'very quick' method to get to the ARRL online content for any information you wish! {This is most used method for me, the page writer.}

Please read the text on the ARRL search site for getting index information and access to the ARRL Periodicals CDs. The indexes include QEX, NCJ and Ham Radio magazine... these are good for finding the articles about a topic. They are searchable by title, author, date, etc. Some members of SARA only use the CDs for their personal archives. {CDs are starting to not be supported on newer computers, technology changes and moves forward ~ this may influence your choice of direction.

5 Pillars of ARRL Policy

ARRL defines five 'Pillars' that base the directions being followed. The benefits for joining the ARRL are many and we suggest you understand the various benefits and goals of the organization, as the future of ham radio is really controlled by this non-profit organization. If for some reason you may not like a direction, get involved and work towards changing the direction. It really is up to the members to control the directions being followed.

The ARRL provides details on each area which you should review by using these links:

Public Service





Details listed on these links show why many hams feel it is very important to the future of ham radio that supporting the ARRL is nearly a requirement for your consideration.

Some of the ARRL Supported Activities

Awards Program and QSL Card Programs

Volunteer Examiner Coordination (Testing for FCC licenses)

'On the Air' Support ~ look at top left menu on the page for many operating areas

Log Book of the World [LoTW]

ARES Emergency Programs ~ local, state, federal, international


Books and Magazines ~ Education (and internet videos)

Hamfest Support ~ Planning, Registering, Calendars

Legal Assistance

Product Reviews

RFI Support

RF Exposure Help

Hundreds of other Areas & Reasons you should support the efforts - 'surf' the ARRL and search the internet!