National Communications Magazine FAQ

Updated 9.6.2021

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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

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. If we had not made that move, we probably would have had to have gone out of business because of rising postage and printing costs. 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.

What does the magazine look like online?

National Communications Magazine looks just like the print edition online, but it is done in an easily downloadable PDF format. You can either view the PDF file in your browser on your computer or download the PDF file to your computer or tablet. We even know some who look at the file on their smart phone, but it's kind of wonky. Hopefully, we will be able to offer a mobile version in the future, but the technology isn't there yet for us. If you want to check us out before buying, a FREE copy of an older issue of the magazine is available for download and testing at

What do I get with my paid online access?

National Communications Magazine is scheduled to be published six times a year: January-February (posted online between Jan. 1 and 8), March-April (posted between March 1 and 8), May-June (posted between May 1 and 8), July-August (posted between July 1 and 8), September-October (posted between Sept. 1 and 8) and November-December (posted between Nov. 1 and 8). You receive an email with a link when each issue is posted online that allows you to read online or download the current issue. If you are interested in back issues of the magazine, going back to our start in 1988, check out our NatCom library DVD that is available for purchase at

Why does my online access expire in about 10 or 11 months? Why am I not receiving one full year for my online access?

National Communications Magazine is produced every other month. When you sign up for online access to NatCom, your access starts with the current issue that has been posted online. For instance, if your receive your first issue link by email on June 10, your online access term starts with that current issue, which is the May-June issue. Thus, your online access will be set to expire April 30 in the next year. That will allow you to receive all six current issues posted throughout the year of your online access term: May-June, July-August, September-October, November-December, January-February and March-April -- six issues. Still confused? We can try to explain further:

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

Back issues of NatCom no longer are available online. Our old logon system has been deprecated because it literally became antiquated and caused issues for our readers. If you are interested in 30-plus years of back issues of NatCom, check out our NatCom library DVD that is available by itself, or with a discount when purchasing an online access account. The cost of the DVD is very low compared to any other radio publication when you consider that  you are receiving more than three 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 30-plus years, the cost to you would have been in excess of $750! We think that it's a true bargain with a lot of great reading. Current issues of NatCom are delivered by email now. Our readers with paid online access accounts are emailed a link for new issues that they click to either read the magazine online or download to their computer. It's as easy as click and read now! If you have questions, let us know. This change was made in September 2021.

Did National Communications Magazine move from Ohio?

Yes, the magazine’s offices moved from Kettering, Ohio, to the small country 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. The magazine is a SCAN Media LLC publication. All mail addressed to our former offices in Ohio takes up to six months before it is forwarded to our new offices in Illinois.

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 online access users. 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?

User names and passwords were removed from our website in September 2021. We no longer offer the capability to log on to receive your issue of NatCom. An email will be sent to current online access account holders with the link to retrieve your issue of the magazine. If you have not provided us with your email address, we have no other way to notify you that your issue of the magazine is ready for you to read. There remains no way to log on to our website anymore. We feel that this new delivery method makes it much easier for you receive NatCom!

What do I need to access my magazines online?

When you pay for online access, an email is sent to you if you have paid online, or a letter is mailed to you if you mail in your payment and have not included your email address with the order. The email only acknowledges your order, and if you are a new online access account holder, a link to download the current issue of NatCom will be included. We need your email address to send future issues of the magazine.

How much does National Communications Magazine cost?

One-year online access to National Communications Magazine costs $25, or you can save $5 when you bundle it with our NatCom library DVD for $79 (the DVD retails for $59). These online access packages can be purchased on our website through the safe PayPal payment process.

Can I purchase a single copy of National Communications Magazine?

Yes, we offer the current issue of National Communications Magazine for $6 per copy. This may be purchased on our website through the safe PayPal process. Your issue will be emailed to you. If you prefer a back issue of National Communications Magazine instead of the current issue, please send an email immediately to after making your purchase so that we can accommodate your request before sending the wrong file to you. Once the issue is sent to you, there are no refunds.

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. However, we do not cover shortwave listening or broadcasting. We are America’s Hobby Radio Magazine.

Can I find out what’s in the current issue of National Communications Magazine?

Yes, scroll down toward the bottom of our home page at and you will see information about articles and features in the current issue of National Communications Magazine. You will see links that take you to other pages that include more information about each article, as well as telling you how many photos are included in that feature. Each issue contains our editor’s commentary in a feature called “Thoughtwaves,” a news feature that includes a roundup of items of interest to radio hobbyists, and a cover feature and other articles about scanning, citizens band radio, GMRS and ham radio. We also have a featured photo of communications interest in each issue. We think you will enjoy the hobby radio articles in each issue of National Communications Magazine.

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

We have a list of articles that have appeared in National Communications Magazine on our website at It currently covers issues from our start until 2009. We hope to update this list of articles in the future with more recent articles included.

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!

Is National Communications Magazine on social media?

Yes, we are very active on social media and our 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 on Facebook at, on Twitter at, on Instagram at or @NatComMag, on LinkedIn at and on Pinterest at 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. We purchase a minimum number of free-lance articles for each issue 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, 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 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! All items come with a 30-day money-back guarantee, too. When you shop at our CafePress shop, you help support National Communications Magazine.

I don’t want to pay to access the Mr. Scanner FCC frequency database. Does National Communications Magazine offer any free frequencies for anyone to view?

We have some older frequency lists on our website that contain valid frequencies for you to view. These include Family Radio Service (FRS), fast-food drive-through, military base, VHF low band skip, sports, national and shortwave frequencies. We have not updated these lists in recent years, but you will find plenty to monitor from these lists if you wish to view these free lists. Click on the “scanner frequencies” link on our home page to see these frequency lists.

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

We have separate FAQs on our 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?

Essentially, no. Once your first issue link has been either emailed or mailed to you, you no longer may request a refund for your online access. We invite you to try National Communications Magazine for FREE before you pay for online access! We have an older issue that is available for download on our home page that allows you to get an idea what National Communications Magazine is all about. We find that most people pay for online access once they take a look at our free issue! We're the only magazine covering CB radio, scanning and the hobby radio services.

How long does it take for me to receive my user name and password when I pay for access?

We no longer issue user names and password as all issues of the magazine now are delivered by links sent in email to our readers. You should receive your welcome email and link to your first issue generally within 10 days of payment. There are some exceptions, such as over holiday periods or during the last two weeks of every other month (February, April, June, August, October and December) when we very busy are in production, working on putting together the next issue of the magazine. If you mailed your payment to our Illinois offices, we typically email or mail your welcome letter or message to you within a week to 10 days of its arrival at our office. However, if you mail your payment to our former offices in Kettering, Ohio, or you are taking advantage of a special offer such as from Uniden, RadioShack or Cobra and mail your payment to Kettering, Ohio, it takes up to six months before we have your payment forwarded to our Aledo, Illinois, office. Please be patient and we typically process those payments within two weeks after we receive them.

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

Yes, while PayPal is a very safe system for making online payments with your debit card, credit card or checking account, we respect that not everyone wants to use this online payment portal. If you wish to purchase online access, you may mail your payment by check or money order (no cash!) payable to National Communications Magazine and mail it to National Communications Magazine, PO Box 1, Aledo IL 61231-0001. We apologize, but we no longer accept credit card numbers over the phone.

What credit cards do you accept for payment?

National Communications Magazine accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express via PayPal online payment only. PayPal also might be able to process payments from Bankcard, Switch and Solo.

Is Paypal secure for making payments to National Communications Magazine?

Yes, PayPal uses SSL technology to keep your information safe. When you use PayPal to send your payment to 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 PayPal is your name, address, phone number and 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 either an email or letter 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 send an email to to find out this information. Your online access term begins with the current posted issue of National Communications Magazine that is emailed to you and runs for the term you have paid and as indicated on the email or letter you receive from our offices.

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 scanning and citizens band radio topics, 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 …


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