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This review is from: SolderSmoke -- Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics (Kindle Edition)
As a newer ham, I found this book to be inspiring. It details the author who has led a very interesting life that ultimately led to the military (special force)s and eventually becoming a diplomat posted in many far away places. The intersection of his amateur radio hobby with the people and places he meets is fascinating and inspiring and frankly a fantasy for a lot of hams. It reinforces the notion that hams all over the world are connected in many ways and are kindred spirits. Mr. Meara has made many dear friends all over, some of which he never met in person. He hosted a podcast with another ham that gained fans around the world. The technical side of the book is sometimes difficult for this "appliance operator" who aspires to be a real ham. However learning the concepts well are critical to me at least.
I am currently operating with a General Ticket and am trying to obtain the skills that will make me deserving of an upgrade to the Amateur Extra license. The upgrade gives the operator privileges but also implies a responsibility to be able to apply knowledge and mentor other students of this hobby. I could always pass the final test by reading/memorizing the exam prep books but to what end? Like the author, I am not an EE. I am trying to raise my technical abilities and "melt solder". I am learning CW and do not want to be merely an appliance operator or an "Extra Lite". I definitely am not as gifted technically as he is and struggle with understanding concepts like those presented in some books. I am self teaching myself through kit building. My goal is to eventually be able to troubleshoot and repair old tube type radios without electrocuting myself (which is a serious concern for a family man). I have a couple of old heathkits waiting for me. The technical wonder of being able to build or restore a radio and communicate long distances and make friends with people all over the world is irresistible.
I bought the kindle version of the book. Will probably eventually buy the physical copy as some of the drawing are hard to see and I may want to take notes in the book. Many thanks Bill for writing this. The sad part of this hobby is many of the operators we meet are older or have already left us. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience of the old days that will soon be gone. I was first exposed to this hobby from my uncle who is now SK. The author has also experienced this in his life. 73 Chris