Surfing the Web with A.R.C.!
BY GEORGE KACZOWKA
While at the Rochester AWA meet this past September, I was given the opportunity to preview an early version of the new A.R.C. Web site under development. It was evident that the A.R.C. staff had put a lot of thought and work into the new site. I recently got another opportunity to review their progress. The Web site has certainly taken shape and should be online by the time you get this!
The first thing you will notice is a new look that is fairly simple to use. Down the left side of the page are section headings to common points in the Web site that you might want to visit. Most of these you will immediately recognize. This "navigation bar," as it is sometimes called, allows you to jump quickly to common places on the Web from anywhere on the site. You can then use the "Back" button in your browser to return to where you were.
Two new sections of the Web pages are "Classified Ads" and "Auction Prices." When you go to "Classified Ads," you will need the "log-on ID" (your sub number) and the "password" from your mailing label. If you get your copy by First Class mail, this is on the envelope, so don't throw it away! Simply key in the 1- to 5-digit log-on ID and the 4-digit password in square brackets on your label, and you are there!
The "Classified Ads" section is quite versatile, allowing you to view the ads as in the magazine, but also to search through all of the ads for certain items. This search capability does take some time, so it is not the way you would normally browse the ads. Fortunately, A.R.C. thought of that and provided some categories such as "For Sale," "Wanted," "Message," etc., just as they are in the magazine.
To access a particular category, click on the heading, and you will be given the ads for that section of the classifieds in groups of 10 ads per page. If you see an ad that you may want to respond to, you can print the page from your browser by hitting the "Print" button. There are "Next," "Previous," "First" and "Last" buttons to help you move around the section.
There is also a "Search" capability. From the "Classified Ads" home page, click on the search link to get to the "Search" page. The next thing that you do is to select the section of the classifieds you want to search. You can select "All," but if you are looking for a particular "Wanted" ad -- for example, for a Midwest radio -- it is faster to search only the "Wanted" section. Then, you will need to enter the "Search" keywords. This search is very much like those used in many other Web sites, and if you are a veteran Web surfer, everything will be obvious.
Results of a classified ad search on the word "Beitman."
If you are not familiar with Web surfing, just specify a word or two that would find what you want. The general "Search" will try to find only ads that have the words you use in the exact order you type them in. For example, if I were interested in finding 6L6G tubes, I might enter "6L6G tube" into the search box, and press the "Search" button. However, unless both words are adjacent in the ad and in that order, I will miss some ads.
The idea is to find as unique a keyword or phrase that will get you what you are looking for without missing something that is important. In this case, since 6L6G is most likely used as a tube number anyway, I would not add the word "tube" to the search.
Another thing to note is that the "Search" will look for all types of capitalization of the keyword(s) that you use. Therefore, "Midwest," "MidWest," and "MIDWEST" will all yield the same results!
It may seem that there are a lot of things to remember when using "Search," but once you use it, you will feel like an old pro in no time! For those who really want to get fancy, there is even an "Advanced Search" capability, but the description of that is beyond the scope of this article. There is help available on the Web site, and it includes examples to assist you.
Well, now that we have had a quick look at the "Classified Ads" section, we can use some of what we have learned to access the "Auction Prices" section, since that is driven by the "Search" also.
Clicking on the "Auction Prices" button on the A.R.C. home page on the left navigation bar brings us to the "Search" page for auctions. The search here works just like the search in "Classified Ads." Try to use a single word that is unique enough to get you just what you want. I tried "Midwest" and found eleven items. Imagine what I would find with a word like "radio."
The results of a search are displayed 10 items per page and include the item, the venue (club/auctioneer), and the price. To get the information on a venue, such as in what issue of A.R.C. the full report can be found, search for the keyword "Venue."
There are currently no photos in either the "Classified Ads" or the "Auction Prices" sections, but I am told that they will be coming for the classified ads.
As always, there are a few small things that I would like to see in the future:
- A bit more help on the search pages to explain how to use multiple words in a search.
- Dates in the "Classified Ads" and the "Auction Prices" sections to include an issue date. [Currently, the date in the classified ads is the deadline date -- e.g., December ads are dated 11/10/99. For auctions, the "Venue" search will list the venues, and the issue in which the auction was reported.]
- E-mail addresses and Web site addresses as hyperlinks, so that you could just click on them to send a message, or view a Web site.
There is a lot to see and do at the new Antique Radio Classified Web site, so I would encourage you to check it out!
(George Kaczowka, 23 Hillside Ave., Boylston, MA 01505; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org)
George Kaczowka, a collector of old radios for over 25 years, is vice-president of the New England Antique Radio Club. He is a software designer for a medical information company in Boston, and, with Marty and Sue Bunis, is co-author of the CD-ROM version of "Collector's Guide to Antique Radios, Combined Edition."
BY DOROTHY SCHECTER AND JOHN V. TERREY
We must be doing something right. A.R.C.'s Web site at www.antiqueradio.com has received over 200,000 visitors since first going online in November 1995. Over a two week period alone (October 15 to November 1 this year), page requests averaged 1,340 per day -- which works out to over 40,000 page requests a month!
Equally impressive is the worldwide interest reflected in the list of more than 60 countries represented -- from Asia and the Middle East (Japan, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, etc.) to Europe (Russia, United Kingdom, Portugal, Bulgaria, etc.), South America (Argentina, Venezuela, Costa Rica, etc.), and, of course, North America (the U. S. and Canada). This worldwide interest is good news for the radio-collecting community.
What is it that attracts these visitors to our site? The answer appears to be the storehouse of information there offered free to everyone. After the home page itself, the most frequent requests go to 1) Marketplace -- subscription renewals, book purchases, and free sample requests are made easy; 2) Links -- over 250 Web sites may be accessed; 3) Radio Photo Gallery -- an area we hope to expand significantly in the future, and to which we want to provide a search capability; 4) Events -- the "Events Calendar." All of these features are updated monthly. Also frequently accessed is the Radio Club List, always available on the Web site but printed only once or twice a year in the magazine.
These features have been offered since 1995, but on our newly designed home page, they are easier to access. A single click on the desired topic listed on the left navigation bar, highlighted in red, will take you directly to where you want to go. We plan to improve the readability of the left navigation bar soon.
Also continuing each month is the inclusion of one or more articles. In 1999 alone, 23 articles have been published; in fact, over 70 articles have been archived and grouped by year since 1995. In addition, the 34 book reviews published so far offer even more insight into the world of antique radios. And with the increase each year of all this invaluable information on our Web site, collectors will have a veritable antique radio library at their fingertips.
All of the above features, plus the Editor's Comments, "On the Cover," and Radio Miscellanea, will continue to be offered free, as they have for four years. One improvement is that the general information about A.R.C., which was scattered here and there, has been reorganized, expanded and combined into one comprehensive page of "Frequently Asked Questions."
The Totally New
As of November 4, 1999, at 10:00 a.m., the long-awaited ads went online for subscribers only. Hundreds of you logged on, and as we suspected, there were some glitches. That is the reason we began with old ads -- they enable you to experiment with the process and report to us on your progress. Fortunately, the early problems were resolved quickly, and we should be able to post current ads before long.
The other totally new feature is the availability of auction prices to all. Currently, 6,816 prices, taken from reports over approximately the past two years, are listed, including the item, the price, the venue, and the date of the auction. This is another valuable reference for those of you involved in buying, selling and trading.
An important addition to our home page is the line at the top of the page -- "Latest A.R.C. Web Site News" -- followed by a date. Check this link frequently because it will keep you abreast of the latest information about A.R.C., including the posting date for ads.
In all, we have reason to be proud of the A.R.C. Web site, as the feedback from all over the world has been overwhelmingly positive. We are grateful to the thousands of you -- subscribers and non-subscribers alike -- who visit the site each month. And we ask that you continue to support us in this service to the radio-collecting community, in particular by your patronage of our "Marketplace," which will soon be enhanced by a shopping cart and a secure credit card transaction capability. Your subscriptions and purchases make A.R.C.'s continuing participation in the high-tech world of the millennium possible.
(Dorothy Schecter and John V. Terrey, c/o A.R.C., Box 2, Carlisle, MA 01741)