HAM Radio 101 / Technical Articles

Staying at Home? Catch up on Your Amateur Radio Reading

Being cooped up at home does have its advantages, especially when there’s a shelf full of good books to keep you company. And when it comes to Ham Radio, there’s certainly no shortage of useful reading material to help you focus your thoughts on how to get more out of the hobby.

How about taking a bite out of Raspberry Pi? Why not increase your CW speed? Maybe move a step closer to upgrading your license? The choice is yours. So while the world outside may resemble a Stephen King novel, you’ll be safe inside with one or more of these Amateur Radio references.

  • Sometimes a manufacturer’s owner’s manual can only take you so far. This is particularly true of transceivers. As users put new radios through the rigors of contesting and DXing, best practices surface that testing couldn’t have been predicted. In this vein, Radio Today’s Guides for the Icom IC-7300 and the IC-7610 are must-have references. Written by Andrew Barron, ZL3DW, they’re filled with step-by-step instructions and handy tips on setting up the radios; controls and connectors; operating; troubleshooting; and much more. Available in paperback, these guides make an essential companion to the manufacturer-supplied operating manuals.
  • This one’s not an actual “book,” but it might as well be. The 64-pageDX Engineering New Assembly and High Performance Installation Instructions for Hustler 4-BTV, 5-BTV, and 6-BTV Multiband HF Vertical Antennas is packed with valuable information. This comprehensive guide to installing and using Hustler BTV series antennas goes way beyond the basics. It includes instructions for installing your antenna out of the box without enhancements, along with advice on installing radial wires and how to add high-performance antenna modifications to maximize its capabilities. The manual is included with purchase of an antenna, can be bought in hard copy form, or is available for free online viewing or printing at DXEngineering.com.
  • Licensing Manuals: There’s no better time than now to hit the books so you can upgrade your Technician license to General or your General license to Amateur Extra. And if you’re not a Ham yet, take this time to finally make it happen by putting your nose in the pages of a Technician license study guide. Even if you’re not prepping to take the exam, licensing manuals from the ARRL, W5YI, and Ham Radio School make great refresher courses and quick references.  
  • If you have a big enough backyard or are thinking about plans for Field Day, check out ARRL’s Even More Wire Antenna Classics Volume 3. It contains the best antenna projects and innovative designs from QST magazine from 2002 through 2013. The book features more than 40 practical designs for a wide range of wire antennas. Discover new ways to experiment with wire antennas and remind yourself why they’re so rewarding to use.

Here’s a quick list of other essential references to consider for beginners and advanced operators:

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