ARRL Membership for the Visually Impaired

Now that the ballots are in the mail for the Great Lakes Division election, I’ve been sending out e-mails to ARRL members in the division. I’ve had some interesting replies, including this one from Joe, N8ATB:

Hi Dan,

A very thoughtful email. I wish you the best of luck in theelection.

Amateur radio has been an incredible hobby for me AND a learning experience that shaped my career.

As a retiree now, I find myself nearly blind and unable to do most of what I WANTED to do in retirement BUT still do as much as I can with ham radio.

I wonder if the low membership of disabled hams might be improved by somehow (not sure how0 getting the word out that visually impaired membershhip is only $8 per year without QST…. but since the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped provides –FREE OF CHARGE — QST on audio tape through participating local libraries. I know that few people at HQ even knew that QST was available in that form.

I still pay full membership to get “hard copy” so I can have my wife read the ads (not contained in the audio form), and then I pass on the mags to newly licensed local hams, encouraging them to become members.

Sorry for the long note … I was just impressed by your email and am also concerned about the “graying of the hobby.”

Good luck …

73, Joe N8ATB


  1. Joe, Have you thought of using EchoLink. I have written a program that connects with Echolink especially for the visually impaired or blind. It provides speech output of text, alarms and navigation using easy to find keys. It can be set up by a buddy remotely and has 10 Call buttons for your favorite contacts. It was written originally for an 83 year old Ham who lost his vision. He had given up HF Radio and Echolink so I wrote this for him. It can also be used by us lucky one’s with 100% vision. The program is Called ElseeMore (EchoLink See More) and is available for free download from above website or I have just released a new version more suitable for large screen this has 40 Call buttons. this is available from and is called ‘EchoShack’.

    Navigation is by TAB, SPACE, Enter, SHIFT and Function keys F1-F12 very easy to find.

    Hope can be of some help to you and others.
    73’s Tony VK3ZTR

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