Thursday, July 1, 2010

Our club is considering the idea of making our own CD-ROMs ...

Q Our club is considering the idea of making our own CD-ROMs to offer to members. We could fill them with photos of club activities, useful software and even sound samples from our contest operations. Some have even suggested that special CD-ROMs could be given away at our Field Day site to promote Amateur Radio to the public. Our only question is this: What type of recordable CD-ROM drive do we need to buy for our club computer—CD-R or CD-RW?

Your idea is very creative, and with CD-ROMs being so inexpensive these days, the project should be well within your budget. You’ve asked a good question about the CD-ROM drive; the choice is not as straightforward as it may seem. My suggestion is for you to purchase a CD-R drive, and I’ll explain why.

For your project you’ll be recording each CD-ROM only once—you won’t be recording over the same CD-ROM time after time. This is exactly what a CD-R drive does—it records onto each CD-ROM only once. As a result, a CD-R drive is less complicated and significantly less expensive then a CD-RW drive. The CD-R disks are reasonably priced, too. With a little shopping you can find CD-R blanks for as little as a $2 per disk.

While a CD-RW drive has the advantage of being able to use rewritable disks and record data over and over, the rewritable disks cannot be read by all drives. Here at QST, for example, we have received photographs and even entire article submissions on CD-ROM. Those that are on nonrewritable disks are not a problem, but the rewritable disks are often unreadable by our systems. Blank CD-RW disks are expensive as well—about $10 each.

From QST July 1999