Tag Archives: Books

Recommended Reading

I’ve been enjoying reading fiction on my Kindle Fire but have recently acquired a couple of technical e-books that might be of interest to radio amateurs.  Both are available on the Kindle store and can be read on a variety of devices.

“The New DXer’s Handbook 2nd Edition” by K7UA is available for $0.99.  It is a short work and an easy read which is full of good operating information including links to on-line resources.  Whether you are just starting DXing or have worked DXCC with 1w and a coat-hanger, you’ll find something of interest, and the price can’t be beat.

“Propagation and Radio Science” by KL7AJ is available in hardback from ARRL and I was at first reluctant to go the e-book route.  But it is about 1/2 price electronically and is nice to have as a portable reference.  This is a very interesting book which describes details of radio propagation that we hams don’t pay much attention to.  It also gives some ideas on problem areas of ionospheric physics where hams can contribute.  The author lives in Alaska and has done professional ionospheric research there for years so he knows what he is talking about.  This book made me aware of the propagation of the ordinary and extraordinary waves we all generate as our signals enter the ionosphere.  It explains some of CW signal degradation I have noticed and given me things to listen for in future operations.  The discussion of reading ionosonde data (available on-line) was very useful, especially for determining when there could be sporadic-E openings.

At first I was disappointed with this e-book in that the figures are hard to read even on my large format Kindle.  Then I discovered that by holding pressure on the figure on the screen you can zoom in to see it better.  My only criticism of this book is that I personally would have liked to see more math.  The concepts presented are sometimes complex but the author does a great job of explaining then in down-to-earth terms.   More of the math would help the technical readers understand it even better but could be skipped if so desired because the written descriptions are so good.

This last one is not available as an e-book.  “200 Meters and Down” was originally published in 1936 by the ARRL.  It is still available from the ARRL in hardcopy form.  It details the beginnings of amateur radio and the struggles to keep it alive after WWI.  I didn’t realize what a key role Hiram Percy Maxim and the ARRL played in saving ham radio not only in the U.S. but the rest of the world.  Fortunately, the military and commercial users initially thought that radio was only useful at very low frequencies and the hams were banished to the “useless” HF portion of the spectrum at wavelengths shorter than 200m.  Through their perseverance and experimentation, hams discovered world-wide propagation at HF and managed to hang on  to allocations to those bands as the military and commercial operators gradually saw their utility and adopted them.  This is a fascinating story that every ham should read to appreciate the allocations we have and the tradition we need to continue.

Rob  KB5EZ