The Radio Society of Great Britain is to raise subscriptions by £3 for all membership types as from 1st January 2011. They say that for the RSGB to maintain the services that it provides to its members at the same level this rise is very necessary.
General Manager Peter Kirby, G0TWW says, "Over the past few years the RSGB been increasingly more active in representing the interests of radio amateurs, be it with Ofcom or the UK government but also at European and World level. This has been necessary to ensure the maintenance of the spectrum allocation we enjoy, the protection of our spectrum plus negotiations to get more spectrum." Sorry Peter, but that reads to me as "You guys have to pay more because we have been stopping in the best hotels around the world at your expense"
He goes on to claim success in getting the 7MHz extension. What in line with most of the rest of Europe? So that was all RSGB was it? Then he mentions the fight against the interference caused by the introduction PLA/PLT devices. Well the failed legal bid is probably the real reason for the price rise. He goes on to say that RadCom is recognised as the best Amateur Radio magazine in the world. By whom? I certainly prefer Practical Wireless and the news function has largely been negated the Internet so news in magazines, such as RadCom is months out of date by the time we see them. Magazine production is not cheap and I personally would like to receive my RadCom electronically. The would at least save the postal charges even if production of the printed version was continued for the computer illiterate and those who prefer paper copies. I admit there are advantages of paper over electronic delivery, for example; you can't hang the PDF on a nail in the bathroom. One has to ask why with the amount of advertising in RadCom just why is it not free anyway?
Next in Peter's list is the QSL bureau which he conveniently forgets is mainly staffed by unpaid volunteers so costs very little and is used by only a fraction of the membership. Just like those who run the contests, awards, read the news and the like, most volunteers, including regional representatives do not claim expenses or claim the minimum so they are not out of pocket. So it is difficult to see where the money goes, but then we remember the palatial shed that is the new head quarters and we see another fantastic waste of our money. Was not this move away from London meant to save the RSGB money?
Of course I am not particularly bothered by a small rise like this but pensioners, the unemployed and students will be thinking "is this an expense I can afford?" and with things the way they are in the UK who knows when any of us might be thinking the same way. Sometimes rises like this are counter productive and with the ARRL offering a better magazine at a cheaper subscription the potential for desertion becomes higher once again.