Kindley advise me

I’ve been thinking about buying an Amazon Kindle. But I’m not sure if it will really be useful for what I want or whether it will just end up sitting on a shelf like my Eee PC and other gadgets of the month.

I know that the real purpose of the Kindle is for reading electronic books purchased from However I don’t see myself using it for that very much. What I am interested in is reading ham radio and electronics publications that are increasingly being made available in electronic format. Are these magazines viewable on a Kindle or do they use some proprietary format only supported by a special application that needs a PC or Mac?

One of the publications I’d probably use it for is CQ, as I’m not sure it is really worth the international postage. Then there is World Radio, which is only available in electronic form, which I have never read due to the inconvenience of having to use a PC to do it. Now ARRL is bringing out an electronic version of QST. I still look forward to the printed magazine landing on the doormat but I do pay quite a premium for that.

I’d be interested to learn from Kindle users what formats the device supports. A couple of months ago the back issues of the now defunct 73 magazine and Ham Radio were put online. I downloaded the Kindle application for Windows and was disappointed with the results. The magazines were available in Kindle format but it looked as if they had been badly scanned using an OCR system and half of the content was in Greek! The PDFs were huge files and looked more like a poor quality FAX. The best format appeared to be one called Deja Vue. I downloaded a reader for it. Does the Kindle support that?

My eyes might find it easier reading on a device that lets you zoom in and enlarge the font. Does the Kindle let you do that?

How well does the Kindle support PDF files? I expect I would use it for those a lot. With a Kindle could I read PDFs I’ve downloaded and stored on a drive on our network or a memory stick? I’ve often considered, for nostalgic reasons, ordering some electronic back issues of Radio Communication (now RadCom) from the years when I first got interested in ham radio, though so far I have always changed my mind when I see the cost!

So over to my readers. Your thoughts on this, if you would be so kind!

Julian Moss, G4ILO, is a regular contributor to and writes from Cumbria, England. Contact him at [email protected].

9 Responses to “Kindley advise me”

  • Kris KB0STG:

    If you want ham magazines, get something that supports Zinio. CQ magazines are available through Zinio, plus anything that has a Zinio app can read PDF just fine.

    I do have an e-ink Kindle that I keep for uploading text docs and notes for ham items and astronomy, and it works great with a red flashlight for reading in the dark (Field day and telescope usage). You can e-mail PDF files to your Kindle, and the conversion is mostly good (graphics can pose an issue, but O’Reilly books in PDF convert well).

  • KK4EIR:

    I have the Kindle Touch and an iPad. I use the Kindle for reading books and the iPad for magazines. Magazines on the iPad are just beautiful. I was reading a Wired Magazine the other day, the cover was very interesting and then the creature on the cover blinked! I almost dropped the iPad. If you decide to get a Kindle I would recommend the Touch without 3G. The Touch is much easier to use and it isn’t that much more expensive and unless you travel all the time or don’t have WIFI at you QTH 3G is a waste.

  • W3FIS:

    My wife and I both have Kindles — new Fire,and older ones. I keep all my ham radio manual in PDF format on them. Saves a LOT of carting around books. If you haven’t also look into the Calibre program.

    /paul W3FIS

  • Tom AJ4UQ:

    PDF conversion of text is nice… just email a PDF to a special email address with ‘convert’ as the subject. As noted above, pictures, tables, charts, and other graphics get a bit confused though. Sending a PDF unconverted results in a file that needs more zooming and panning than I like. Like Paul, I have all my radio manuals on my Kindle.

    I don’t think you’ll have much luck with magazines on the Kindle. I’ll let you know this summer when QST comes out 🙂

  • Chad KJ4VYI:

    go for the ipad — apps for kindle and the other ebook manufactures ( barns and nobles ) — there are plenty of mags and books you can read — it does pdf very well and if you integrate dropbox you can open up the pdf form dropbox into ibooks and read it like a book — pinch and zoom too!!

    i would probly wait for the apple fanboy who want to unload his ipad 1 or ipad 2 for the new ipad 3 — might be able to get it cheap!!!

    good luck on your venture into a tablet!!


  • Tom W5GV:

    I have the Kindle Fire and use it for magazines, newspapers, books, and manuals, not to mention movies, email, and web browsing from the comfort of my bed or wherever using WiFi. Magazines are full color and you can read them in the original format or switch to a text type format that is easier to read, scroll, etc., but still supplies the pictures. The ARRL antenna book is far easier to carry around in PDF format than the hardcover. Most of the manuals, magazines and books for my hobbies come with a PDF version that I can transfer to the Kindle. The Fire is a little heavier than the regular Kindles but does so much more.

  • KC6YFR:

    I have the Kindle pictured at the top of this article. I love it. I use it exclusively for reading books. Adjusting the font size allows me to see distant objects clearly even after reading for long periods. Kindles are very easy on your eyes. There’s no light behind the screen as in a computer. The convenience of one click on my laptop at the Amazon book site and purchasing a book is awesome! No trips to the book store. There are many, many free books and inexpensive books to download. The Kindle memory will hold up to 3500 books. Waiting for doctor’s appointments is no longer a problem. No more ragged magazines held by sick people.

  • Mike KB0NND:

    My oldest son got a Kindle, I got him a Tech study Guide for it. I use mine for a few Amazon books, but also good fictions from and

  • Mike N5JKY:

    I have both the Kindle 3 and the iPad. The Kindle is great for books and OK for some PDFs. You will want an iPad or some other device that supports Zinio, has a larger screen, and has color for CQ and other magazines. The iPad is a bit of an investment, but I love mine and use it more than my laptop.

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