I’ll freely admit that I’m generally not a fan of the “… for Dummies” books. I have found that they’re often big on filler and cute graphics, and light on useful data. I have purchased a few, and later realized that I could have bought a half dozen other books that contained twice as much information, even at the beginner level. However, Ham Radio for Dummies is an exception, and contains a lot of useful information. I have referred to it more than once, especially when I was just getting started. (Confession: Even after a few years messing around with ham radio, I still refer to it occasionally!) H. Ward Silver is a recognized expert in the field, and has obviously ensured that his book isn’t full of noise (no pun intended :-)). He did a great job laying out the basics in a way that a beginner can understand, even if he or she doesn’t have an electrical engineering degree.
When I looked back through the book again for the purpose of writing this mini-review, I was even more impressed than the first time I read it. Not only is there a ton of information for the very beginner, there is also a ton of information for the experienced ham radio operator. If you want to learn about different emergency communications organizations (e..g, ARES & RACES), there’s info on that. Do you want to learn about digital modes you can use? This serves as a great primer for that area too. Or maybe you haven’t gotten licensed yet and are looking for an easy, common-sense, inexpensive approach to getting your license out of the way. Ward does a great job of describing a variety of useful options, and will save you a lot of legwork and wasted time.
What’s covered in Ham Radio for Dummies?
- Part 1 – What is Ham Radio All About? — will get you acquaint with ham radio in general
- Part 2 – Wading through the Licensing Process — it’s easier than you think!
- Part 3 – Hamming it Up – Making contact, using your radio in general, emergency communications and public service opportunities
- Part 4 – Building and Operating a Station That Works — that’s right — setting up your own radio station, which is also easier than you think
- Part 5 – The Part of Tens — nifty lists of ten items each — 10 secrets for beginners, secrets of masters, first station tips, easy ways to have fun on the radio, etc.
- Part 6 – Appendixes — glossary, other listings, and a Morse code table
Ham Radio for Dummies is not for dummies. If you’re interested in learning about ham radio, you will be wise to start with this book.