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Ham Radio For Dummies [Paperback]

H. Ward Silver
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 23 2004 For Dummies (Computers)
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 to ham radio or already have your license, Ham Radio for Dummies helps you with the terminology, the technology and the talknology. You discover how to:
  • Decipher the jargon and speak the language
  • Buy or upgrade your equipment, including the all-important antennas
  • Build a ham radio shack, complete with the rig, a computer, mobile/base rig, microphones, keys, headphones, antennas, cables and feedlines
  • Study for your license, master Morse code, take the test and get your call sign
  • Understand the basics of ragchews (conversations), nets (organized on-air meetings) and DX-ing (competing in contacts to make contacts)
  • Keeping logs with the vital statistics, including time (in UTC or World Time), frequency, and call sign

Written by Ward Silver, an electrical engineer, Certified Amateur Radio License Examiner, and columnist for QST, a monthly magazine for ham operators, Ham Radio for Dummies gives you the info you need to delve into the science or dive into the conversation. It explains how you can:

  • Tune in to the most common types of signals, including Morse Code (CW), single-sideband (SSB), FM, Radioteletype (RTTY), and data signals
  • Break in, introduce yourself, converse, and say or signal goodbye
  • Communicate while traveling (ham radio goes where mobile phones go dead)
  • Register with an emergency organization such as ARES and RACES
  • Help in emergencies such as earthquakes, wildfires, or severe weather
  • Pursue your special interests, including contacting distant stations, participating in contests, exploring the digital modes, using satellites, transmitting images, and more

Complete with a glossary and ten pages of additional suggested resources, Ham Radio for Dummies encourages you to touch that dial and take that mike.

CUL. (That’s Morse Code for “see you later.”)


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Product Description

From the Back Cover

You can be a lifesaver while you make new friends

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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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4 of 4 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
Format: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.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to a fun avocation May 19 2004
Format: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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific reference July 3 2004
Format:Paperback
Ward Silver's "Dummies" book is terrific for beginners and experienced hams alike. It's not about the technical details of the hobby, really, but about how to get into ham radio and most of operating basics. I was licensed many years ago, but after a few years of operating, went into "hibernation" for about 20 years before rediscovering ham radio. This book has helped me catch up on all of the advances made in the last two decades. What's really helpful are all the references to other sources (such as websites) that take you deeper into the hobby. An outstanding addition to my "ham shack"!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Q5 May 4 2004
Format: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.
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