Ham Stuff

This page is still a work in progress. If you have a suggestions for products that I should list on this page, please e-mail me. I’d like to make this page into a list of books and products that my readers and I have found useful and fun. Having said that, I’ll just add that if  you are planning to buy one of these books, I really would appreciate it if you’d buy it from one of the links below. If you do, I get a small percentage of the purchase price. Thanks! If  you’re looking for license study guides, take a look at my No-Nonsense amateur radio license study guides.

ARRL Books

Every ham should have an ARRL Handbook. It really is the ultimate reference book for amateur radio operators. I actually have about ten of them, the oldest being from the 1940s. Tags: reference, handbook, theory.
The Operating Manual is chock-full of practical information, including HF operation, VHF/UHF, FM and repeaters, DXing, contesting, satellites, and more. Tags: operating, HF, VHF/UHF.
If you want to experiment with antennas, get the ARRL Antenna Book. This edition comes with a CD-ROM that includes all of the text and illustrations in the book, plus utility programs and supplemental content from expert contributors. The CD-ROM also includes EZNEC-ARRL version 5.0 antenna modeling software for PCs (a tutorial is included) and an extensive collection of antenna models. Tags: antennas, modeling.
Wire antennas are inexpensive, simple to set up, and very effective. ARRL’s Wire Antenna Classics contains many plans for antennas that you can easily build yourself. Tags, antennas.
You just got your license and purchased an HT. Now what? If you live in SE Michigan, you can find repeaters in the area by going to the W8SRC Repeater Guide. If you don’t live here, then the ARRL Repeater Guide is what you need. The ARRL gets their information from regional frequency coordinators, so it’s not 100% accurate, but it’s as good as you’re going to get. Tags: VHF/UHF, repeaters.
Let’s face it. One can get a Tech license, and maybe even a General Class license, without being an electronics genius. Even so, amateur radio will be more fun, and you’ll be a better communicator, if you know something about electronics. Understanding Basic Electronics was designed to get you started. It’s written in an easy-to-understand style, and goes light on the math. Tags: electronics, theory.

Books by other publishers

The W5JCK Math for the Amateur Radio Extra Class Exam is a great supplement to my No-Nonsense Extra Class Study Guide. It explains in somewhat more depth than I do the math required to calculate the answers to some of the test questions.
Ham Radio for Dummies is an ideal first step for learning about ham radio. Beyond operating wirelessly, today’s ham radio operators can transmit data and pictures; use the Internet, laser, and microwave transmitters; and travel to places high and low to make contact. This hands-on beginner guide reflects the operational and technical changes to amateur radio over the past decade and provides you with updated licensing requirements and information, changes in digital communication (such as the Internet, social media, and GPS), and how to use e-mail via radio. Tags: reference beginners.
If your son or daughter or some kid down the street has been showing some interest in electricity and electronics, The Manga Guide to Electricity might be a good book to get for them. Part comic book, part textbook, it’s the story of Rereko, an average high-school girl from Electopia, the land of electricity. She has just failed her final electricity exam, and now she has to go to summer school on Earth. The comics keep kids interested in the story, while at the same time teaching them about electricity and basic electronics.
The stories in this book originally appeared in the West Coast DX Bulletin, and sprang from the fertile wit of Hugh Cassidy, WA6AUD who, with his wife Virginia, wrote, printed, folded and mailed the Bulletin to a growing list of amateur radio operators without a miss for over 11 years. At the time of its discontinuance in July, 1979, the WCDXB was widely regarded as the premier DX bulletin in the world. The principal product was information in abundance, but accurate timely information alone would not account for its popularity. Rather it was the editorials, short vignettes at the end, in which Cass took on the controversies of the day in a delightful and memorable way. It is these stories that have been collected, organized and presented as The Best of the West Coast DX Bulletin.

Stuff suggested by readers

Small Antenna Design seems like an interesting book. I’d love to have an antenna for the 500 kHz band that I could fit in my backyard. At $70, though, this book is   kind of pricey, though.
Joseph Carr, the author of the Practical Antenna Handbook was a very prolific writer on many aspects of electronics and radio. Unfortunately, he’s now a Silent Key. According to the ARRL obit, Carr, KI4PV, died in 2000 at the age of 57. All of his books which I have had the pleasure of reading were well-written and practical.
About Clandestine Radio Operators, Amazon says, “All Resistance and radio buffs have been waiting for this book, which gives an exhaustive account of the real champions of Free France – the Allied underground radio operators parachuted into Occupied Territory. Ruthlessly pursued by the Germans, the radio operators had a life expectancy of six months… For the first time, the training they received in England is described in detail and five accounts describe how these heroes lived daily. Most of the radio equipment, some of which is very rare, is shown for the first time with color photos.
About the Ham It Up v1.2 – NooElec RF Upconverter, Tom, AJ4UQ says, “This is the SDR combo that gives you HF through UHF. Good for monitoring or checking new bands. Don’t forget the various antenna adaptors and connector cables.” This converter works With Most SDR dongles, including Funcube, RTLSDR (RTL2832U with E4000, FC0013 or R820T Tuners), and MF/HF Converter With SMA jacks.

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