CALLING CQ, the ham radio newsletter has been going out the door like clockwork each week. One of (many) things I’ve learned from producing it is that publishing to a deadline is much harder than it looks. It requires a different kind of writing discipline that puts me in awe of those who have been doing it for decades.

I’ve finally settled on a format that I’m happy enough with to perpetuate for a season. There had been a lot of tinkering and getting feedback on what works best - and what doesn’t. I can’t believe it took more than eighty issues to arrive at this point.

The stable format has permitted me to begin archiving issues online. You can find them at the bottom of the main page though the latest edition in the archive is always a week old. You want the new stuff you gotta subscribe but at least this preserves the links for posterity sake.

The subscriber base continues to grow at a rate that causes each new edition to “top” all others when it comes to number of reads and link clicks. I’m continually looking for ways to expose the letter to a larger audience without breaking into my penny jar for advertising funds.

For instance, I recently commissioned Jeff Murray, K1NSS to come up a logo that could be used for the letter. We kicked it back and forth a couple of times via email and within a few days he had come up with the LOOPY logo. It’s a witty play on the popular magnetic loop antenna design and the newsletter that keeps readers “in the loop” about all things amateur radio.

I thought it turned out well and at a price that almost made me feel like I got all the value out of the transaction. K1NSS is an amazing artist who is also a radio amateur and I’d recommend you contact him if you’re ever looking for custom artwork - for a logo, QSL card, Web site, publication, etc.

I also launched a separate Twitter account for CALLING CQ. I plan to use it to promote the letter, update readers, and to share links from recent editions of the letter. It was useful this week when I published a correction to something that appeared in the last edition of the letter so I think it’s going to be useful.

Despite all the dust kicked up from the promotion of the letter, my goals for it remain the same as when I started:

  • Curating the most relevant ham radio news each week
  • Linking to interesting new products, sites and stories
  • Providing pithy commentary on issues that impact the hobby

It’s really simple. Oh, and it will always be free.