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Internet Archive Seeks Material for Library of Amateur Radio and Communications


Internet Archive has begun gathering content for the Digital Library of Amateur Radio and Communications (DLARC), which will be a massive online library of materials and collections related to amateur radio and early digital communications.

The DLARC project is looking for contributors with troves of ham radio, amateur radio, and early digital communications related books, magazines, documents, catalogs, manuals, videos, software, personal archives, and other historical records collections, no matter how big or small. In addition to physical material to digitize, we are looking for podcasts, newsletters, video channels, and other digital content that can enrich the DLARC collections.


This is a mammoth task but an important one. I wonder if there's a way to collaborate with existing collections of historical Amateur radio data, such as the famous "QSL Collection" from Vienna:

I think they have more material than probably anyone else in the world, but much of it is "offline" (partly digitized but not web accessible).

Another huge collection of historic QSL cards, bios of deceased radio amateurs and other stuff:


> software

Amatuer radio seems full of little software tools to do calculations that are closed source. I hope the authors can be encouraged to publish source, or it will die with them.


Not just closed source but a completely black box, like the ROS and Pactor 4 digimodes. (To be fair, the latter is a commercial product so the blame is on ham radio operators, not the company who designed it.)


> Pactor 4 digimodes.

I've always been curious as to how they "got away" with being proprietary: encryption isn't allowed on amateur bands, but given its black box nature, the codec (?) might as well be a cipher.


Has anyone reverse engineered it? It is possible to create a third-party implementation, either in hardware or SDR?



In many cases it already has.


Yeah or the other way around :( The developer of the excellent SP packet terminal committed suicide after years of bullying on the air (not sure what the exact story is there but I used this software at the time).


Maybe they want it that way? Why do you always need access to someone else's work. Many of them build these apps to fund their hobbies or put a little food on the table.


amateur radio service means a radiocommunication service in which radio apparatus are used for the purpose of self-training, intercommunication or technical investigation by individuals who are interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and *without pecuniary interest;* (service de radioamateur)


So … you just wouldn’t be able to talk about the tools you build and charge money for… on the hobby you built them for?

Seems kind of ironic. And, imho - missing the point of the hobby.


Not an amateur radio guy myself but from what I understand it's supposed to be a strictly non-commercial undertaking which means it's a bit churlish to keep your code closed-source.


Many of these tools are free to download, nothing to do with putting food on the table. When the old man that wrote them dies the tools are lost.


They are in luck, then, because hams are famous for never throwing anything out, ask me how I know.


Does it have to be strictly historical radio content? I have a radio app I used to showcase some of my compositions but I'm not sure it'd qualify.


It should be related to amateur radio, so if it is about broadcast radio probably not.


Outstanding context, thank you!

This is a wonderful partnership to learn about. I hope that Internet Archive is successful here.


Onno W. Purbo hosted his own Amateur Radio personal wiki [1]. He's also uploaded his talks on Youtube [2].




I have been loving this site for old radio/electronics magazines:

I would assume would just ask permission to hoover (mirror) it.


> I have been loving this site for old radio/electronics magazines:

And many hundreds of books.


Probably totally digress, but I wish IA can organize their digital library slightly better.

One day I was checking some manga books by ISBN on IA just out of curiosity. And for some reason, it put the ISBNs for all the volumes of a manga into one single entry (, check "ISBN" metadata section) and unsurprisingly, the actual content is only one volume, vol.43 (not even vol.1!). I have a feeling other volumes may exist somewhere there, but there is no way to search for them.

This isn't a one-off occurrence either, it reflects my experience for trying to find specific item there well, especially for non-English books.


On a given day I'm moving tens of thousands of items around to make them easier to find. I'm sure I'll get to your section sooner or later.


Are you involved with IA? I'm actually really interested in what your day to day looks like, could you share more?


Jason's day-to-day is pretty well covered in his Twitter account:


textfiles is Jason Scott[0]







Thank you for your service.


Every day is a joy.


A lot of the time the metadata accuracy is up to the original uploader. IA's upload system doesn't magically fill in all the metadata details for an item.


Also doesn't allow other to update metadata or even submit for review.

Wikidata has a property for Internet Archive ID, so it wouldn't be conceptually hard to construct a parallel metadata store there, but it would involve hundreds of millions of triples so it's definitely "hard" in other senses.


While I also wish the Archive to be more precise - e.g. in the "Author" and in the "Year of publication" fields -,

I suggest that you check their RSS feeds to see how staggeringly high the rate of uploads is. That uploading is "frenetic" (in a good way of course) reveals where the focus is. For re-assessing and fixing the records a parallel team would probably be needed.

I would gladly help towards that: I never checked but maybe one can volunteer.


I agree. I had wondered how successful and easy it would be to create a "front end" site that does a better job of searching, organizing


How about these, not mine personally, but one's I'm aware of.



- History of W9YB (Purdue Amateur Radio Club)



Sadly, the .RA files are missing from that site.

However you can download the broken file, (eg "lpl.ra")

open it with a text editor, and extract the URL (eg

And put that into the Internet Archive.


There are millions of "reflector" messages that contain a tremendous amount of knowledge. I hope the project manages to archive those as well.


I have a shelf full of books (already got rid of all my QSTs I can access digitally) I will be able to get rid of soon!


Ahh, this is great. I was already seriously impressed by the amount of amateur radio content on the Internet Archive. I'm happily surprised to see some solicitation for even more content! Passing this along to my relevant communities/clubs/etc. (also just emailed one possible place to archive :))




Do QSL cards count?


YES. -Kay


I don’t know how common it is for hams to collect these but my father has thousands, so I’ll try to get him to send what he has your way


Extremely common.

Before internet the physical cards ware the proof that you had had that contact. They ware needed for awards in in many countries to even advance from your license class upwards.

In Finland one had to have 300 confirmed (paper QSL card received) contacts with morse code before you could even attempt the tests for higher license classes that allowed voice and data. Thankfully now abolished, along with the mandatory morse code requirement.


Might be difficult to beat the ARRL's library in terms of depth.


a collab between IA and the ARRL would be ideal! but i feel the two institutions may not see eye to eye.




It would be awesome if one day we go back and hear all these small town and college radio stations and the types of shows in them.

Woukd be a cool time capsule.