Ham Radio For Dummies

Ham Radio For Dummies

Ham Radio For Dummies

It’s time we cleared the air about ham radio. If you think of it as staticky transmissions sent by people in the middle of nowhere, think again. Today’s ham radio goes beyond wireless to extreme wireless, Operators transmit data and pictures, use the Internet, laser, and microwave transmitters, and travel to places high and low to make contact. In an emergency or natural disaster, ham radio can replace downed traditional communication and save lives. Whether you’re just getting turned on t

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3 Comments/Reviews

  • Randy Johnson says:
    83 of 85 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A great introduction to a fun avocation, May 19, 2004
    By 

    This review is from: Ham Radio For Dummies (Paperback)

    I am often asked why I am still interested in ham radio when it is so easy for people to communicate by e-mail and cellular phone. The answer, as is so forcefully brought home in this excellent book, is that ham radio is fun, challenging, rewarding, and provides opportunities for personal growth.

    While the major objective of the book is to provide information to get newcomers into the hobby and to help get them productive and successful, there is something here that can be useful to even the most experienced operators. There are many ways people have found to enjoy the various technical, recreational, educational, and social aspects of ham radio. They are covered in this well-written book.

    Ward is an operator of the first caliber. His advice is based upon personal experience, not based upon interpreting what some others person has told him. He is also a very funny person and he has a unique ability to find whatever humor exists in a situation. Therefore the tone of his book is light and eminently readable. More particularly, it does not suffer from the dry style that I found in similar books.

    People who are interested in developing new skills, expanding their minds, and building relationships will find ham radio a great hobby. I recommend this book as a means of becoming successful quickly. Experienced hams will find hints that are more valuable than the modest cost of the book. Finally, those like me who were away from the hobby for a while will find a good summary of what they have missed while they were away.

    A terrific read.

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  • Myles Carpeneto says:
    44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Get a good idea of what’s in the forest, May 13, 2004
    By A Customer
    This review is from: Ham Radio For Dummies (Paperback)

    Have you ever wondered about those “amateur radio” license plates you see on cars? Do you see disproportionally large antennas on tall towers at some homes? Wouldn’t it be really neat to be able to set up an antenna, radio, and antenna and communicate from literally anywhere, to just about anywhere, in any kind of weather, without having to be tethered to some electrical outlet? If you think I’m kidding about this, I’m not–people do this very thing everyday, from houses, hotels, boats, bikes, International Space Station, while hiking, running errands, or just seeing how many countries they can contact! Yes, you read right–different countries, from bicycles! Please stop me before I type another exclamation point!

    Well, this is an excellent book to start with, in the familiar “for Dummies” format that flies you over the forest that is ham radio, and gives an overview of: signal formats, operating tips and advice, public and emergency service, radio contesting, station setup, and a number of other concerns of the hobby.

    Mr. Silver has done a fine job of blending amateur radio with the Dummies editorial style, to present ham radio in plain-language, for those who have always wondered, but didn’t know where to start. Like all of the Dummies books, it includes the list of Tens.

    It won’t help you to prepare for the test specifically–there are different question-pool books that explain the technical, and highly applicable to the real-world, nitty-gritty that’s needed to pass the (U.S. FCC) Technician exam.

    This book is also good for the already-licensed hams who want to quickly get up to speed on different operating aspects. Non hams, by the time they finish looking over the book, should have a good idea if they want to hike into the forest to explore further and possibly take the steps towards getting licensed. There are numerous links and resources for those who wish to continue learning about this hobby.

    As a fairly new ham myself, and having entered the hobby knowing nothing about it, I’m sensitive to the fact that people I talk to also might not know much about the hobby. It’s hard to know where to start, when trying to explain it. Rather than launch into techno-speak and cause people’s eyes to glaze over, I can now hand them this book. It’s a very easy way to introduce folks to the hobby.

    Perhaps I might sound very over-the-top about all this–and you’re probably right–but since getting into this hobby, I have learned so many things that I might not have been exposed to otherwise.

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  • Anonymous says:
    31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Q5, May 4, 2004
    By 
    Myles Carpeneto (Baltimore, MD ) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Ham Radio For Dummies (Paperback)

    Q5 is not a rating. In radio lingo, it means excellent readability.

    If you are thinking about getting into Amateur Radio, this is the book you should read first. If the ink is still wet on your FCC license, this is the book you should read now. Even if you have a collection of tickets dating back to Marconi, this is the book you should read to make sure you are up to date; you’ll find something interesting that you didn’t know in this book. I think HRFD is the most comprehensive and readable overview of Amateur Radio available.

    Let me emphasize that word “overview.” Will you be able to take and pass your Technician License test after reading this book? The answer is “NO!” You will still need to study one or more of the fine ARRL test prep books before you sit for your exam. HRFD provides very little depth on any individual topic; HRFD’s strength lies in providing a broad, very readable survey of the many aspects of ham radio. It has something to say about how to get a license; what licenses are available; the various radio modes of AM, FM, SSB, CW and RTTY; buying equipment; on-air etiquette; DXing; contesting; Public Service opportunities; low power operating; amateur TV; TOR; PSK; Packet; WLAN; satellite; and, computer resources for learning more, to name a few topics.

    So why do I recommend reading HRFD first? Because the test prep books are focused on preparing you to pass an exam. HRFD is focused on giving you a perspective that will help make relevant the cold facts you will learn from the test prep book.

    If you have a relatively new license, like I do, you know there is still a lot to learn about this hobby, or should I say avocation. HRFD is a good place to discover more about the various things you can do with your license. It’s like having an Elmer at your elbow. On the other hand, if you want to learn about capacitance, resistance, inductance and oscillation so that you can go for your Amateur Extra license, take a hike; this is not the book you need.

    For the old-timers, and you know that term has nothing to do with your age or your attitude, you know that amateur radio is constantly evolving. Maybe you haven’t been able to spend the time needed to keep up with the field because you have decided that raising your family is more important than raising a DX contact. Whatever the reason, if you need a quick overview about any Amateur Radio area, reading HRFD is a quicker way to get back up to date than reading all your old, unread QST and CQ magazines. And if you need more depth, HRFD will tell you where to find the latest information, and a lot of it is only computer keystroke away.

    As you can see, I am really impressed with this book. The ARRL manuals are good at being very comprehensive with whatever they cover. Unfortunately, that completeness often comes with a dryness of both style and format. The 300+ pages of HRFD, on the other hand, are an easy read. I recommend that you get HRFD now; it’s worth the price. Don’t wait for second hand copies to start showing up in the used books department. HRFD is a keeper, so you might have a long wait otherwise.

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