BOOK REVIEW — Ham Radio for DUMMIES
Though it is easy to think of amateur radio as a geek
hobby, it has a large social element to it and Ward spends
part of this third section on ham etiquette, clubs and
organizations, and common courtesy.
He also uses this section to cover the more serious
side of amateur radio. Hams play a major role in emergency response following disasters and knowing how to
handle such situations can literally mean life or death
Other specialties of ham radio — including DX (long
distance contacts), contests, QRP (low power operation),
video transmission, and awards — get good treatment
The fourth section is where you get your hands dirty,
so to speak. Setting up your station can be a lot of fun and
Ward describes some of the more important elements to
consider in your shack layout.
Here, you also find much of the technical information
needed to get out a strong signal and to pull in a weak one.
This section also includes good tips on used versus new
equipment, safety considerations, and troubleshooting
problems that keep your station from running at top efficiency. Ward also provides considerable information on
antenna theory and construction — a vital element of a
The fifth section of the book contains a set of tips
and guidelines — arranged in groups of 10 — for getting
the most from your new hobby. This is followed by the
book’s appendices, including a glossary of terms, a collection of technical references, and a fairly extensive
I enjoyed reading this book for its technical content
and for Ward’s light and concise style. As mentioned previously, he is an accomplished writer, which goes a long
way to making this admittedly technical hobby easy to
understand. He covers a huge range of material in the
book’s 350+ pages. Open the book at random and you
could hit a discussion of contacting ham radio satellites,
accessing amateur radio repeaters, or finding resources
for studying for your ham ticket (license). The paragraphs
are short and all “meat.” The book’s page layout is easy
This book is an excellent starting point for your ham
radio hobby. Ward takes much of the mystery out of amateur radio and helps you understand its fun and challenges. His enthusiasm for amateur radio is apparent, as is
his conviction that ham radio plays an important role when
called upon during emergencies. With this book, Ward
Silver may well become an Elmer (mentor) to a new generation of hams. NV
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