My Latest Electronic Toy

KindleMy latest electronic toy isn’t a QRP rig, nor is it an antenna analyzer or a new paddle. It’s a Kindle e-reader!

Even though I’ve had a Kindle version of my study guide for about six months now, I never saw how it looked on a Kindle because I didn’t own one. On Easter Sunday, though, my brother brought his to the family gathering, and I was finally able to get a first-hand look not only at my study guide, but at the Kindle itself.

I was duly impressed. Reading on the device is a lot easier than on my iPod due to the e-ink technology. It really does look a lot like an actual book. Shortly after, I bought my own Kindle.

Using it is a breeze, and it really has changed the way I read things. One of the first things I did was to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal. Every morning, the latest issue is downloaded to my Kindle and is ready to read as I eat my breakfast. How cool is that? I’ve since also subscribed to the Detroit Free Press.

One thing I’ve been pleasantly surprised with is the number of free books available for the Kindle. Sure, most of them are old and in the public domain, but many publishers offer their recently-published Kindle books for free for a limited time. For example, I downloaded several free books on investing that were published in 2010. I also snagged several recently published books on writing and publishing for free.

Surfing around the Amazon site this afternoon, I found several free books for ham radio operators–at least ham operators of the early 20th century:

  • Letters of a Radio Engineer to His Son. This book, published in 1922 is written as a series of letters from father to son, each letter explaining some aspect of radio. It goes so far as to even explain how atoms work and how current flows on an atomic scale.
  • Electricity for Boys. This book was published in 1915 is part of the “How-To-Do-It” series. As the name implies, it does concentrate mostly on electricity, but hams should find it interesting, too.
  • The Radio Amateur’s Handbook. No, this isn’t the venerable handbook published by the ARRL. The first edition of the ARRL Handbook was published in 1926, while this book was published around 1915. If you want to build a spark gap transmitter, get this one instead of the ARRL edition. In this book, for example, you will find instructions on how to tune your spark-gap transmitter so that it transmits a 200m signal.

I’m not sure how useful these books are, per se, but they are a lot of fun to read. You get a real feel for the history of amateur radio by reading them. And, while you might actually find a printed copy in some dusty, used-book store, the chances of that happening are very ┬ásmall. With the Kindle, these books are literally at my fingertips.


  1. Elwood Downey says:

    I have had one for a few months now and enjoy it also. Very nice to have several books available at once. The square nav button is a bit of a throwback, I miss a touch screen for navigation. I find reading novels, sci fi etc that are mostly prose are the best on the Kindle itself. Illustrations are a bit cramped so I prefer reading technical books on the various free PC/Mac/iPad reader apps so I get color and larger screen size.

  2. Been reading my electronic edition of “Monitoring Times” on mine. I transfer it as a PDF file and rotate the screen to the landscape position. Makes an interesting read. I absolutely love the Kindle. Yes….it’s easy on the eyes and I read much more now than ever before. It’s a winner!

  3. I too just got a Kindle Fire, and I love it. I’ve not had a lot of luck finding ham radio apps for the Kindle Fire, but that’s probably because I’m just new at the Kindle. I’ll definately have to check out the three free books you mentioned. It would be interesting to find a book, basic book on how to write apps, so that’s probably my next step. I can see the Kindle Fire opening up a lot of doors for ham radio. Thanks for the information.

Speak Your Mind