National Communications Magazine FAQ

Here is a list of frequently-asked questions (FAQ) asked at National Communications Magazine’s offices. We hope this information can prove to be of assistance. If you have additional questions, please feel free to send an email to

NOTE: If you have issues with your Substack subscription to NatCom, please use this link as Substack will have to assist you:

Is online the only way to receive National Communications Magazine?

Yes, National Communications Magazine converted from print production to online only at the end of 2012. We then made an additional move in 2023 to convert from emailed PDF delivery of the magazine to our new website with exclusive articles for our paid subscribers. If we had not made both moves, we probably would have had to have gone out of business because of rising postage and printing costs as well as crazy technology that always is changing and email delivery issues.

This is the cover of the last PDF issue of National Communications Magazine, the SPRING March | April 2023 issue. | Photo courtesy of National Communications Magazine

While other hobby radio magazines such as Popular Communications and Monitoring Times have gone out of business, National Communications Magazine remains as strong as ever — since 1988!

What does the magazine look like online?

While we no longer produce simulated magazine issues in PDF format, National Communications Magazine continues to serve our readers with an exclusive website with multiple weekly articles for you to read to keep up with hobby radio topics including scanning, CB radio, FRS/GMRS, MURS, basic ham radio, broadcast listening, AM/FM/TV DXing and low-power Part 15 broadcasting.

Our website showcases our recent articles sent to our paid subscribers. | Photo courtesy of National Communications Magazine

When you sign up for a subscription with NatCom, you are notified when new articles are posted on our website and app. If you are a paid subscriber, the articles are emailed directly to you or you are notified via our free app.

Read National Communications Magazine in the Substack app
Available for iOS and Android

What do I get with my paid online access?

Articles for National Communications Magazine typically are posted several times a week as developments are warranted, including new equipment notices and reviews, news, features, frequencies of note and much more.

We offer multiple levels of subscriptions to NatCom, including free access (a limited number of articles can be seen in their entirety), monthly and annual subscriptions and an additional subscription level that includes a copy of NatCom’s library DVD with all back issues in PDF format from 1988 to 2023. The DVD also will be available for purchase on an individual basis. Watch the front page of this website for a link.

I had a subscription to the PDF version of the magazine and now I have the online version to view articles. Is my expiration still the same?

Yes! If your PDF subscription to NatCom expired in December 2023, your access to our new website here also will expire Dec. 30, 2023. You will be notified by Substack, our website partner, to renew your subscription access to continue to read our articles every week. If you have a question about your expiration date, please send an email to or check your account on Substack.

Did the price of a subscription go up?

Yes, unfortunately, we had no control over the subscription price that we could offer our readers on this new platform. We can tell you this:

  1. We’re offering the lowest price possible with this new website: $5 per month or $30 per year. We just aren’t able to offer a price lower than that.

  2. The increase from $25 to $30 is our first increase in more than 10 years. We are sure every other publication and medium you subscribe to has at least doubled or tripled in cost over that time period. We have held the cost as much as possible over the years because we care about radio hobbyists!

How do I access back issues of National Communications Magazine online?

Back issues of NatCom no longer are available online. Our old logon system was deprecated in September 2021 because it literally became antiquated and caused many issues for our readers. If you are interested in 35 years of back issues of NatCom, check out our NatCom library DVD that is available by itself, or with a subscription to NatCom on this website. The cost of the DVD is low compared to any other radio publication when you consider that you are receiving three and a half decades of radio magazines on the DVD at a cost of slightly more than two years worth of current issues. If you had been receiving NatCom for all those 35 years, the cost to you would have been in excess of $1,000! We think that it's a true bargain with a lot of great reading.

The NatCom Library DVD is available for only $79.99 when you click on the photo above or this link: NatCom Library DVD. | Photo courtesy of National Communications Magazine

We offer the DVD as a standalone product from a link on the home page of this website or click here for DVD information.

Did National Communications Magazine move from Ohio?

Yes, the magazine’s offices moved from Kettering, Ohio, which is near Dayton, to the small rural town of Aledo, Illinois, in May 2014. At that time, the magazine’s editor and publisher emeritus, Norm Schrein, retired from the publication and it was taken over by long-time National Communications Magazine contributing editor Chuck Gysi, N2DUP.

This is National Communications Magazine’s hometown, Aledo, Illinois. Our downtown section, seen here at night, also is known as “uptown” by the locals. | Photo courtesy of SCAN Media LLC

The magazine is a SCAN Media LLC publication.

What are the office hours for National Communications Magazine?

Being the backbone of America, National Communications Magazine is a small business with irregular office hours. This keeps the cost low for our subscribers. We do not maintain regular office hours and do not provide telephone assistance. Please send an email to for fast service. It isn’t unusual that you will get an email reply either on the weekend or late at night. It’s when we do our best work!

What do I do if I lose my password or user name?

Email addresses and passwords are handled on this new website by Substack, our web provider. If you are having difficulty logging in to our website to read full articles or the app, please seek help from Substack here: NatCom is unable to assist with passwords and user names on Substack.

What do I need to access NatCom articles online?

Our new website here is mobile-enabled, something that was lacking on our old website. You can view our articles on a desktop computer, tablet or iPad, as well as most smart phones. We really think this new website looks best on a desktop, but it’s fully functional on mobile devices, too. In addition, our free Substack app allows you to read articles via the app and to be notified on your mobile device when new articles are posted for you to read. The app is our secret weapon that puts us ahead of most other publications and we’re glad to offer it to our readers with just a free download! Click below to download.

Read National Communications Magazine in the Substack app
Available for iOS and Android

How much does National Communications Magazine cost?

With our new website here on Substack, you can sign up to read our articles for a full year for $30. You also can sign up for $5 a month, but keep in mind you’re paying twice as much as on an annual basis. The annual rate is the best deal. We also offer annual access with the NatCom library DVD and an additional donation to NatCom for $139 if you wish to be a NatCom Gold Partner! Look for it when signing up for a subscription and email us with your mailing address so we can send you your library DVD.

Can I purchase a single copy of National Communications Magazine?

We don’t have a method at present to offer back issues of NatCom available for sale on an individual basis — only complete collections on our library DVD. Stay tuned in case we figure out a way to do this!

What topics does National Communications Magazine cover?

National Communications Magazine’s forte is scanning and CB radio. We focus on police scanners and citizens band radio because we do it best and no other publication covers both of these topics! We also cover the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS), the Family Radio Service (FRS) and the Multi-Use Radio Service (MURS) as they also are hobby two-way radio services. We also cover two-way radio in general as it is related to scanners and scanning and the hobby radio services. In 2021, we added a very basic amateur radio column to the magazine as ham radio magazines do not cover the basics well and that we know many of our readers hold ham licenses. With our new website, we hope to offer these topics, too, as we find great articles to share with you: shortwave listening (SWLing), broadcast listening, AM/FM/TV DXing, low-power Part 15 broadcasting and more! We truly are America’s Hobby Radio Magazine.

Can I find out some of the articles on your website?

Yes, go to the home page and view our “archive” tab to see the many articles, both free and for paid subscribers, that have been produced by America’s Hobby Radio Magazine.

Is there a list of articles from back issues of National Communications Magazine?

We plan to migrate at some time to this website a list of articles that have appeared in National Communications Magazine in our PDF and printed editions. It currently covers issues from our start in 1988 until 2009. We hope to update this list of articles in the future with more recent articles included.

Do you offer an app?

Yes, National Communications Magazine now has a free app for reading our articles on your mobile device. In fact, you can choose to receive notifications on our app to let you know every time a new article is posted each week. The Substack app allows you to add your NatCom subscription to stay on top of our articles.

The National Communications Magazine Substack app allows you to read our articles at your convenience on your mobile device — smartphone or tablet. | Photo courtesy of National Communications Magazine

Check out our free app with the link below.

Read National Communications Magazine in the Substack app
Available for iOS and Android

How long has National Communications Magazine been published?

We trace the roots of National Communications Magazine back to 1988 when a simple “The Radiogram” newsletter was published for radio hobbyists. This morphed into the Bearcat Radio Club newsletter until 1991 when we became National Scanning Report. In 1993, “Report” was dropped from our name and we became National Communications Magazine in 1997. We’re the longest continuously produced hobby radio magazine still in existence today! Learn more about our history here.

Is National Communications Magazine on social media?

Yes, we are very active on social media and our thousands and thousands of social media friends love our posts! We hope you will join in and share in the excitement. We post frequently and offer important news updates as it relates to hobby radio.

We can be found here:

Please like our pages and comment!

Are you looking for writers?

National Communications Magazine always is looking for new authors and writers who can write well about scanning and citizens band radio and other hobby radio topics. We purchase a minimum number of free-lance articles that meet our readers’ needs. If you are interested in pitching a story idea to the editor, please send a basic outline for your planned article to the editor at We do not accept manuscripts without going through the outline vetting process, so that the writer and editor don’t waste valuable time. Our editor is a long-time experienced editor who has worked with and taught many new writers over the years and is especially willing to work with radio hobbyists who want to share their hobby through writing. We also pay for free-lance articles and unlike many publications and websites, we pay immediately on publication, a long-tradition here at National Communications Magazine. We respect our free-lance authors!

I love National Communications Magazine! Do you sell items with the NatCom logo on then?

We do! Our third-party vendor, CafePress, sells all types of items with our NatCom logo so your friend will know you support America's Hobby Radio Magazine! Go to or click on the link in the title bar on our home page and see these items and more with the NatCom logo: T-shirts, hoodies, coffee mugs, drink bottles and glasses, clocks, bar ware, pillows, bags, phone cases, notebooks (great for logging!), calendars, decals, magnets, hitch covers, key chains, ball caps, watches and much more!

The NatCom coffee mug is one of many NatCom-branded items we offer for sale on CafePress. Click on the mug to see what items are for sale. | Photo courtesy of CafePress

All items come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, too. When you shop at our CafePress shop, you help support National Communications Magazine.

Can I give someone a gift to National Communications Magazine?

Yes, Substack offers the ability to offer gift subscriptions for a month or a year. Click below to send a gift of America’s Hobby Radio Magazine.

Give a gift subscription

Does National Communications Magazine offer free frequencies for anyone to view?

We no longer offer any frequency lists. The lists that were on our old website were seriously out of date and of little value. We recommend looking for local scanner websites in your area as well as using RadioReference.

I need more information about scanning or citizens band radio. Can you help?

We have separate FAQs on this website for scanning and scanners and also CB radio. Please check the links on our home page and you can learn more about these radio hobbies.

Do you program scanners?

National Communications Magazine does not program radio scanners, however, our preferred vendor at can assist you. It is operated by NatCom’s former editor and publisher, Norm Schrein. You also can purchase scanners at a discount from this website.

Can I get a refund?

We are unable to offer any refunds for our readers whose subscriptions were converted from PDF delivery to our new website on Substack. If you have purchased a subscription via Substack for NatCom, please check your account for more information, or use Substack’s online help resource: All our Substack subscription processing and servicing are handled by Substack and not by NatCom, so please contact them for any assistance.

I don’t want to pay online for my access. Is there another option?

No, Substack only accepts online payments for access to National Communications Magazine. They are not set up to accept mailed payments. We’re sorry for this inconvenience, but we do assure you that the Stripe processor used by Substack is very safe and we have been working with that provider for several years. We cannot accept any payments via PayPal any longer for new subscriptions to this website. We also are unable to accept credit cards by phone or any other method. You can sign up and make online payment at this link below.

What credit cards do you accept for payment?

Substack through Stripe payment processing accepts most forms of payments online.

Is Stripe secure for making payments to National Communications Magazine?

Yes, Stripe uses SSL technology to keep your information safe. When you use Stripe to send your payment to Substack for National Communications Magazine, we don’t see or receive your sensitive financial information such as your credit card, debit card or bank account numbers. All we receive from Stripe is your email address, as well as the amount of your purchase.

When does my online access term expire?

When you pay for online access to National Communications Magazine, you will receive an email from Substack with your online access expiration date. Please print out or save this information so you can recall your online access expiration date. If you should lose it, you may check your Substack account online.

Is National Communications Magazine hiring?

We’re not hiring at the time. We have a very small office staff in order to keep the cost of our publication low for our online access users. We do work with free-lance writers who can write about hobby radio topics such as scanning and citizens band radio, however. See the other FAQ item above about writing for National Communications Magazine.

What is the history of National Communications Magazine?

There is a Wikipedia article about the history of National Communications Magazine that can be found at:

What’s the frequency, Kenneth?

If you know the answer, please tell Dan Rather. Don’t have a clue? Google it …

Copyright 2023-2024 by National Communications Magazine | America’s Hobby Radio Magazine