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Find out about ham radio, prepare for your license, and join the fun!
Hams do cool things like talking to folks around the world and helping with communications during emergencies. If hamming it up sounds like fun, here’s the scoop, including licensing requirements and how to set up a station. And if you’re already licensed, this book will help you start sounding (and feeling) like a pro!
The Dummies Way
Explanations in plain English
"Get in, get out" information
Icons and other navigational aids
Tear-out cheat sheet
Top ten lists
A dash of humor and fun
Discover how to:
Understand ham jargon
Communicate on the air
Prepare for the license exam
Set up a radio shack
Help in an emergency or natural disaster
Be a ham on the go
About the Author
Ward Silver is an electrical engineer who’s been a licensed ham for 31 years. He is a contributing editor and columnist for QST, a monthly magazine for ham operators.
Ward Silver has been a ham since 1972 when he earned his Novice license (WNØGQP). His experiences in ham radio led him to a 20-year career as an electrical engineer, designing microprocessor-based products and medical devices. In 2000, he began a second career as a teacher and writer, leading to his receiving the 2003 Bill Orr Technical Writing Award and in 2008 he was recognized as the Dayton Hamvention's "Ham of the Year".
Ward is Lead Editor of the two primary amateur radio technical references, both published by the American Radio Relay League -- the ARRL Handbook and the ARRL Antenna Book. He is the author of all three ARRL licensing study guides and writes the popular QST magazine columns "Hands-On Radio" and "Contest Corral". His popular email newsletter, "The ARRL Contest Update" reaches 25,000 readers twice a month. He has written two other Wiley titles, as well; Two-Way Radios and Scanners, and Circuitbuilding Do-It-Yourself. The ham radio detective mystery, "Ray Tracy: Zone of Iniquity" and a tutorial, "Antenna Modeling for Beginners" are his most recent books.
On the air, he enjoys DXing, contesting, building antennas, and participating on his local ARES emergency communications team. He is a founder of the World Radiosport Team Championships and is a member of the YASME Foundation's Board of Directors. Outside of ham radio, Ward plays the mandolin, dabbles in digital photography, and enjoys biking, camping, and canoeing.
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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