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 Radio beginners books

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Victor
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Call Sign : 29-CT-074
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Equipment Used : Yaesu FT-767 GX Venom silver rod and Sigma SE-HF-X80
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PostSubject: Radio beginners books   Radio beginners books Icon_minitimeMon Nov 21, 2022 8:09 pm

One of the things I have noticed in my travels is there are almost no quality books for a beginner to use as a good introduction to the hobby. Yes I know there are a multitude of books called 'beginners' but many are hardly thicker than a magazine, most are really aimed at exam coaching. The other ones I found are so in depth that your lost after the first few pages. The type of book that would really be useful is one that explained how to set up at home station, what radio types are and their function, ie entry level and so on, also antennas, cables and the multitudes of other bits to hang off your set. Yes a section on the exam and legal requirements and also some of the technical stuff. 

I know there are You Tube videos, forums like this one that is a source of endless and invaluable information but its not like having that go to book any time of day to check something.
It can be very intimidating to go to a club meeting and ask what to you seems some very silly questions, some clubs are great but many consist of older chaps who are condescending or cant be bothered to fully answer your questions. A good bible of basics would give the rookie a bit of confidence and start them on a road to a long and fulfilling hobby.

Of course, I stand to be shot down here and be given a whole list of books available  Laughing  however a little story to end this waffle with.
 I went to a very well known national book seller shop and enquired, "would you have anything on Amateur radio or radio in general" the answer " Sorry Sir you would need to go to Currys for something like that" I replied " No, I dont want to buy a radio, I have come in here because its a book shop, I want a book". The answer "Oh no, sorry Sir we wouldn't have anything like that". 

Thanks to anyone that makes it to the end.
Michael
73s

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Victor
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Victor


Call Sign : 26-CT-3228 / M7VIC
Posts : 5666
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Join date : 2019-11-10
QTH or Location : Bedford
Equipment Used : Various

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PostSubject: Re: Radio beginners books   Radio beginners books Icon_minitimeTue Nov 22, 2022 9:09 am

Hi Michael,

Thanks for your posting, it was an enjoyable read and I agree with you wholeheartedly that there does seem to be a shortage of well written entry level books, but there might be good reason for such.

If we take some basic numbers it starts to make sense....


Current estimates suggest the UK's population stands at over 67 million and probably nearer 68 million.

Official figures as best as can be obtained suggest the number of Radio Amateur licence holders stands at around 80,000 or so for the UK.

That's about 0.1% of the population.

Figures around the world will give a very similar number of approximately 0.1% of their population.....


How many of them want a 'beginners' book and would it be worthwhile for a publisher to invest in such?

Even if you account for those that may be interested in Amateur Radio but not yet licensed I'm pretty sure that the numbers will still be relatively low. That might go some way to explaining the lack of such material.

The RSGB (Radio Society of Great Britain) writes that Amateur Radio is a "popular technical hobby" and if you look at it from their point of view it may very well seem to be, but in reality the numbers suggest otherwise.


Then how 'beginner' should a beginner's book really be?

The radio hobby heralds many areas of interest so should there be an overall introduction to every aspect or must it be about simply getting on air? 

Even if you take that latter statement about getting 'on air' it can be a lot more complicated than at first seems. Some are lucky in being able to purchase 'appropriate' equipment, plug it all together and as far as they're concerned if they're making contacts all is well. Others may well come across terms like 'antenna resonance' and SWR (or VSWR) and even if you ask the so called 'experts' there might not be any consensus to such subject material. None of that a help to the aspiring 'beginner' who may inadvertantly spend a lifetime with minimal or even incorrect information to hand and worst of all espouse it to other beginners. No wonder it's hard to dispel certain long lived radio myths!


Luckily nowadays (and unfortunately in some respects) we have the internet to glean information about anything we may be interested in including Amateur Radio. However as a beginner you are still going to have to go beyond face value of such information with much of it opinion based and not exactly 'peer reviewed'. 

'Beginners' can also ask some rather complicated questions and if the inquisitiveness of "why is the sky blue?" gets the nonchalant answer of "it just is!" that is of no ultimate help. Then again if they did respond with the answer of the short waves of the light spectrum being scattered more in the atmosphere there are bound to be further questions surrounding such. Not everyone posseses all of the knowledge to answer nor has the patience to help with the bewildering array of questions that can arise from something starting so simply.


You go beyond being a 'beginner' the moment you ask your first question about such subjects and can still feel a 'beginner' after a lifetime of apparent experience. 

There are always questions to ask with some just stopping when they are happy with how far they've got, whilst others 'annoyingly' keep asking more. Wink



As for your book seller story I'm not really surprised. If the number of individuals enthused in the hobby of amateur radio is 0.1% then that means 99.9% of the population are not.


Heck, that means most people aren't even aware of such things!



Great posting, got me waffling and reminds me of why I love the radio hobby.....it's a huge adventure with many paths of exploration! 

Often I love to be the 'beginner' all over again by exploring something new.  Radio beginners books 1f44d 


All the best,
Victor

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https://www.qrz.com/db/M7VIC
Zodian01
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Call Sign : 26-CT-3362
Posts : 36
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Join date : 2020-02-24
QTH or Location : Stretford, Manchester
Equipment Used : SS7900,Whistler TRX1, Baofeng 1702, CRT Space-U, HackRF 1, Radio Shack Pro97
Age : 59

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PostSubject: Re: Radio beginners books   Radio beginners books Icon_minitimeWed Nov 23, 2022 5:54 am

Nice piece Mike.  I've been into radio since being a kid after watching the film 'Convoy' at the cinema.

I know the feeling of asking 'stupid' questions, so a not-so-technical book would have been of great use to me.  50 years on, I still feel like a beginner although I can just about get by on 11m and 70cm (446).
Also a section on SSB would be good.

Best wishes, zodian01 (Ant 26CT3362)

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SangueG
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Call Sign : 26-CT-3971 / 2E0LMI
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Equipment Used : Little radios, home-made antennas

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PostSubject: Re: Radio beginners books   Radio beginners books Icon_minitimeWed Nov 23, 2022 6:32 am

Yep you're right, doesn't seem to be many "beginners" books about and Victor's post looks to be a good explanation why. There are a few though if you scour the net.

Only one I have read recently is VK3YE's "Australian Ham Radio Handbook", it looks to cover everything you are looking for and more, except for the exam. It does cover exams, but Australia have different licences than us. He doesn't do a UK version, but does do a US version, but out of the two the Australian licencing structure is closer to the UK one. Exam / licencing is only one chapter though, all the rest is universal info. I have the Kindle version which is 216 pages, the last few being ads for his a few of his other books. I think the paperback version is supposed to be 140 pages... no monster sized novel, but thicker than a magazine, and have seen for under a tenner new.

Don't want to break any forum rules for posting links to sales, but you should find easily if you do a net search for his callsign.

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https://station-master.online/2E0LMI
GaryWilson
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PostSubject: Re: Radio beginners books   Radio beginners books Icon_minitimeWed Nov 23, 2022 9:08 am

Good morning Michael.

My advice to you assuming you have the means to would be to join a local club that has a good reputation in training beginners in the hobby.

When I returned here in the UK there is a three level process starting at foundation as an introduction to radio and getting you on the air with some limitations to intermediate then finally the full licence. I did the full course but never got around to the exam. 

I'm not sure if it's similar in Ireland but I'm sure we have members who will know.

We all recognise the element of the hobby where a few "willy wavers" have to demonstrate their superior knowledge of radio theory but I found them to be in the minority.

I think only when you understand what's on offer from the broad range of possibilities for you to pursue within the hobby can you then decide exactly what equipment you the want to go ahead and purchase.

By joining a club you will be mixing with like minded people with all different levels of knowledge from beginner to perhaps a life served Rf engineer with experience in broadcasting or indeed military! You may also make some good friends along the way as I did.

I do hope that you find what suits you best and wish you the very best in your pursuits.

73's Gary.

C.T. Admin.


Last edited by GaryWilson on Wed Nov 23, 2022 11:03 pm; edited 3 times in total

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rekibrepus
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Call Sign : 29-CT-074
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PostSubject: Re: Radio beginners books   Radio beginners books Icon_minitimeWed Nov 23, 2022 7:36 pm

Hi Gary. I read your advice and have to say that its very good. I am lucky enough to have a local club and attended the first meeting last week, not sure about training but they were very welcoming. I have done the course with Essex and it was good, I am in the rather fortunate position of living right on the border of NI and the South and with that in mind all I need to do is have an address in the North and I can take the foundation, after that its just a case of going mobile 10 miles up the road and can transmit legally. In the South here I am doing a 26 week course as there is only one exam and you do absolutely everything but it is pretty tough going in cold. I think the only thing for me to get to grips with at the moment is the use and value of all the many radios on offer particularly the used market, Icom, Kenwood and so on with associated budgets, I guess it will come in time.
Thanks again.
Michael.

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rekibrepus
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Call Sign : 29-CT-074
Posts : 44
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Join date : 2022-02-17
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PostSubject: Re: Radio beginners books   Radio beginners books Icon_minitimeWed Nov 23, 2022 7:40 pm

Hi SangueG.
I have looked up that book following your post and have an online sample downloaded tonight. I will read it with interest. I would have liked the physical book but they dont have it but can get the Kindle version so after checking I will get it. Thanks for info.
Michael.
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Call Sign : 26-CT-4654
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QTH or Location : Preston, Lancs.
Equipment Used : UNIDEN 100, midland alan 78 plus multi + mag mount , silver rod
Age : 63

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PostSubject: Re: Radio beginners books   Radio beginners books Icon_minitimeThu Jan 12, 2023 9:26 pm

Hi rekibrepus its just a pity they dont do a british version  Neutral

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