ARRL needs to lighten up

So .... the ARRL rejected the idea, out of hand, for the new "Jeeves" cartoons for QST. It appears they don't want any cartoons in QST and they don't want "to look to the past". As I've said in my comments, I think this is so LAME that I cannot believe it! It's thinking like this makes me regret my decision to become an ARRL LIfe Member, so many years ago.

No humor? No look to the past? I think "The Old Man" is spinning in his grave at this line of reasoning. Did any of you at HQ ever read his editorials? You are aware, I'm sure, of the Rettysnitch and the Wouff-Hong?  Do you think those inventions of his were NOT stabs at humor? Do you think his editorial letters were deadly serious 100% of the time?

I think the leadership at the ARRL needs to come off its high horse. I also think you guys are starting to take yourselves way too seriously. To say that you are above humor and that you are above living, enjoying and celebrating your past is to put yourselves on a pedestal so high, that no one even wants to bother looking at you.

QST was always looked upon as "THE" Amateur Radio magazine. Jeeves, Phil Gildersleeve, the humor, friendliness and "folksiness" all helped to put you there, so many years ago. I admire your endeavor to maintain that leadership role, but I think your approach is off. And dare say it,  I think HPM would agree.

My Mom, God rest her soul, always told me "Never let your head get too big and never forget where you came from." That advice has served me well throughout the years. I offer the same sage advice to the ARRL, at no charge - compliments of a thoroughly disappointed Life Member.

Before I close this post, one last thought about looking upon the past, and what it can do for you. Hey ARRL, have you looked at NASA's "spacecraft for the future" - the Orion?  Does it remind you of something from the past, like perhaps the Apollo Command Module?  It appears that NASA didn't think that a concept from the past couldn't be made to work well again, and perhaps even better!

Bravo for them, and shame on you.

Footnote: This rant is NOT a knock on the "worker bees" who actually do the work, and produce QST from month to month. They do an outstanding job, for which I am forever grateful. The policy makers, from whom they take their direction and get marching orders from, IMHO, need to wake up and smell the coffee - perhaps, just a little.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Larry Makoski, W2LJ, is a regular contributor to and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

25 Responses to “ARRL needs to lighten up”

  • Matt W1MST:

    I agree, Larry. Wholeheartedly.

  • Roger G3XBM:

    The best magazines embrace the future and the past. A few cartoons would do no harm at all.

  • Stephen G0PQB:

    The RSGB published cartoons in Radcom in the late 80s/ early 90s and a lot of people didn’t like them. Surely radio amateurs can’t always take themselves too seriously?

  • Tom AB5XZ:

    Cartoons have been part of QST for a long time. Some of the best cartoon art I have seen has been on QSL cards.

    I would like to see some lighthearted cartoons, not political cartoons, in QST.

    CQ magazine has a cartoon “Spurious Signals”, by Jason Togyer KB3CNM.

  • Jack KJ4ELI:

    Hear! Hear!

  • Dick Jones W0PZD:

    It’s the “Politically correctness” issue. God forbid (if I can invoke his name here) that we might offend a “CB-er” and get a pin in our coax–or something.

  • Scott - W9VHE:

    Enough of politically correctness. This organization is leaning too far to the ‘let’s not offend anyone or we won’t get any new hams!’ area. If someone is offended by a cartoon, don’t read them!

  • Marty AG3EK:

    Back when I read newspapers I always read the comics first. With Outdoor Life the Last Laugh column at the end of the magazine was where I headed first (before Patrick McManus retired, which was part of the reason I let my subscription expire) and if you look I think you’ll see that most magazines have at least one comic in them. Look at Reader’s Digest and even the New Yorker.

    QST is not some stuffy trade journal. By definition it’s for amateurs. Aren’t amateurs *supposed* to be having fun?

  • Before everyone gets out the torches and pitchforks, gets their panties in a bunch, or starts canceling life memberships, you should re-read what Schoenfeld actually said, according to a quote from N2EST: ““While it is well executed, its ‘throwback’ style is something we try to minimize in QST, as we really need to be looking ahead and not behind us.” It’s clearly not about politically correctness, CBers, a lack of humor, or a general statement about ARRL direction or policy. It’s an editorial decision at a magazine with a specific vision for style and direction. Ideas are rejected on a daily basis in the publishing industry. Some other venues in amateur radio appear to lack any editorial discretion and we’ve seen what that leads to.( and eHam, I’m looking at you.) Editorial decisions have been made at magazines like CQ and Popular Communications over the years, and they are in a certain situation today. QST is successful and arguably has the best printed content in amateur radio.

    Coincidentally, this could be a win for CQ. They could run the cartoons. It would be an editorial decision for them as well whether or not to run them.

  • brian ac7af:

    we need more of a balance of the past and future I agree with Larry

  • AL KF5SMH:

    I would thoroughly enjoy seeing something lighthearted and nostalgic at the same time in QST. While the tech information and the DX reports are all pertinent it is a bit dry, so as was said earlier lighten up! And at the same time take a look back at where you have been with fond memories.

  • Jerry VE6CPP:

    Many Years ago..our Local Paper put in a cartoon with a ‘Pig at the Mike’..fella in behind says to the other ‘What, you never seen a Ham Radio Operator before’ ? Many were offended.. I thought it was ‘Funny’ ! Gotta have humor in this World ! 73

  • Karl N7DMA:

    I think bringing back Jeeves would be great! I miss those cartoons. Maybe the ARRL doesn’t want to give up all the advertising space a simple cartoon would take up in QST.

  • Charlie G4EST:

    I renewed my membership last year after a 2 year gap as I find some technical articles and equipment reviews useful and occasionally search through old issues. I find that the number of advertisements tends to overwhelm the content and will probably not renew this year for this reason. cartoons would take up valuable space for an advert and thus reduce revenue, perhaps a hidden reason for being humourless.
    I also think that the RSGB is going that way as my communications with them seem to suggest that they don’t want to ‘rock the boat’ and upset subscribers with criticisms of bad operating practices which seem to crop up more regularly now.
    I ‘Play’ Amateur Radio for personal enjoyment and converse with others who use old military equipment whose interests lie in that field. Retro isn’t always bad.

  • W8SFC:

    I’d wager that if MFJ wanted cartoons in QST, they would appear in the next issue.

    73, sid

  • Peter kg5wy:

    Larry, I completely AGREE with you.
    I believe QST is TOO SERIOUS and arrogant.
    It’s not JUST about cartoons. Their heads are getting too big about everything.

  • Gary KC2HWE:

    I was very hesitant to offer my thoughts,but, I have to agree the ARRL and its power that be do need to lighten up.
    Now granted, I’m a “lowly Tech”, as I’ve been told. The reason for that is because of some “pompous stuffed shirts” saying I was “radio poor”. I was under the impression that Icom and Kenwoods were good radios, actually they are. The granting of a “ticket” is to “experiment with and build and develop communication equipment and antenna’s”. The attitudes I ran up against really ruined my desire to up grade my license grade. In all fair play I’m not a “talker” , but, like to listen and learn. So, I went back to my basic’s of what I enjoyed and why I became a “Ham”. Shortwave and Scanning have always been my interest, yes I was a CB’er also. Bottom line I love radio
    I do enjoy tinkering, kit bashing, repairing radio’s, as well as computers. With today’s technology in the communication industry, IE cell phones etc. and some “high and mighty attitudes” , the ARRL does need to “lighten”up. Qst is a very informative read, I will never drop my membership with the ARRL, they do offer some good info and services and help with “pro radio legislation”. However, They do need to ease up some, loose some people with attitudes, educate those young curious minds with how we helped develop what we have today. Email=packet,cell phones,wireless data transmissions, and television.
    I’ll get off the “soapbox”, Thanks for reading and the opportunity to add my comments.

  • GB KC5GB:

    Much as I hate to admit it, I agree with ARRL on this one. I do think the ‘forward’ look is better.
    Everyone is always complaining about the decline of ham radio, and how to get younger people involved. Certainly this kind of old fashioned looking artwork and content is NOT the way to do it. Ask any 18 year old who or what Jeeves is and you’ll get a blank look. Humor is fine, and a cartoon in QST wouldn’t hurt, but please make it relevant to our century at least. This kind of quirky quaintness just feeds the notion of ham radio being a bunch of fusty old guys. And by the way, the complaints about advertising are strange since the editorial section of the magazine is ad free. You can read every article without without seeing any commercial intrusions.

  • K4CTV:

    Larry, maybe you should get a petition started – if enough hams to signed up, maybe the QST editorial staff would listen. If 200 – 300,000 signatures didn’t convince them, then I for one would permanently drop my ARRL membership – in a heartbeat!

  • greg kc9tmx:

    go to any ham swaomeet . take a good look . if you eliminated everyone over 50 there wouldn’t be enough people left to conduct a swapmeet. GET YOUR HEAD OUTTA YOUR BACKSIDE,LIGHTEN UP AND LET US SENIOR CITIZENS ENJOY WHAT WE LIKE . HUMOR NEVER HURT ANYONE !!!!!!!!

  • Luke AD0KI:

    Publish the cartoons on media outlets like! We’ll happily take them, and maybe when QST sees how successful they are, they will pick them up, too. I don’t even read QST anymore so I don’t want to miss out for that reason alone!

  • Bill W5NI:

    I, for one, miss Jeeves. I agree that ARRL is missing an opportunity to cause a snicker or two that might just brighten or even enlighten some ham’s day! Cartoons can be used for many things, like humorously pointing out poor operating practices, dangerous servicing and climbing practices, or general “goofs” someone has made that might help someone avoid the same goof himself or herself. They should be in good taste, of course, but humor is humor whether it has good taste or not, and some doesn’t; what is humorous to one may not be to another, but like radio, TV, or hamming, if you don’t like the radio or TV host or the ham chatter, you have a knob or an on-off switch, and if you don’t like the cartoon don’t read it! I admit that some people have forgotten what a sense of humor is, or maybe just never learned it in the first place since it is not used in many homes nor allowed in most schools anymore, but that is no reason that the rest of us have to suffer their lack of humor or maybe their mental disorder of political correctness that doesn’t allow them to understand such things as humorous situations or many other things. Humor is an important human defense mechanism to keep one from going insane as you encounter life or watch the news. If you have no sense of humor, I feel for you but I can’t quite reach you; get a life. And yes, I would like to see Jeeves or something similar back in QST! Gil had a great sense of humor, but surely there must be others that can step forward and carry on even if it is brought into the 21st century, but don’t forget the past in the process of change because some of the old challenges that moved ham radio forward were hilarious and they still hold interest for some of us elders as well. A balance can be found, even if they have to open two cartoons per issue, one old and one new! The rest of QST is excellent and I hope it stays that way.
    73, Bill W5NI

  • Peter kg5wy:

    AMEN Greg!!!

  • Here’s an idea: don’t resurrect a classic cartoon, invent a new one that has a newer look and feel, one that new and younger hams can relate to, and actually find funny.

    When I was a teenager I remember Wayne Green getting all excited about how they were running an Archie comic involving amateur radio. He was going on and on about how great it was and how it would bring kids into the hobby. The problem was, no young people read Archie comics. I was perhaps the nerdiest kids in my grade, but even I knew you just don’t read Archie comics. I wouldn’t be caught dead with one as a teenager.

    But I digress.

  • Ed, WE7H:


    Got my Feb QST today. Page 84, L/R corner of the page…Jeeves cartoon. No discussion of it or special reason for it being there. Just a caption stating: “February 1941 QST”.

    Maybe they’re not as stiff as folks might think.

    73, Ed

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