The Successful Ham Radio Operator’s Handbook


This new book is aimed at new or returning hams, to help them understand the practical aspects of the hobby, how to use their radios, build antennas and baluns, and get on the air successfully.  In it you will find explanations of how the various parts of your ham radio – the transmitter and receiver – work, plus how these are being implemented using software defined radio technology.  Operating techniques for VHF/UHF repeaters, HF radio DXing techniques, and the new digital modes are covered. Radio propagation, antennas, transmission lines, SWR and the mysteries of baluns are explained. Building your HF station, choosing a radio, connecting your radio to a computer, and mobile and portable operation are extensively covered.

Both the pdf and spiral-bound printed versions are available from, and the print copy is also sold by DX Engineering.  You can find them via the links below:

Here is a link that describes the book in more detail:

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This book has 267 pages, 211 figures and diagrams, and 53 tables of data to make understanding the sometimes complicated ham radio operations much easier.  The book follows KE7X’s philosophy of presenting material in several forms to accommodate people with different learning styles — reading, visualizing, hands-on — with the many figures and text explanations and there are hands-on exercises throughout the book that can help you learn more about your particular radio.  

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One instructor for new and advanced ham classes has said, “This book is exactly what is needed.   I’ve seen some other books targeting the new hams that are less than satisfying both technically and in content but this one is right on the mark and covers so much information that I so often get asked about, during and after teaching classes.”

Here are more details on the content:

  • With nearly 110 years of ham radio experience between them, the authors are still excited about the challenges this wonderful hobby offers.  The Successful Ham Radio Operator’s Handbook will guide you when exploring some of these.
  • Its goal is to help new operators and returning old-timers learn about the breadth of exciting ham radio activities and challenges available today.
  • It answers the question “Why is ham radio relevant in the Internet age?”
  • It covers a wide range of topics, helping the reader to understand the excitement of different facets of ham radio and to choose a challenging and exciting activity to pursue.
  • It helps the reader better understand how the radio works.  Many hams only use a small fraction of the features of their radio. For example, if you understand how a noise blanker or a roofing filter or the AGC works, you will be able to more easily use these, and other, features of your radio to your benefit.
  • It provides exercises designed to apply the knowledge to cement your understanding of how your radio works without being radio-specific.  It is good for all makes and models.
  • It helps the reader get enough background to understand much of the jargon hams who pursue special activities, such as the various digital modes, VHF contesting and moon bounce. It quickly takes the novitiate reader to higher level of understanding and provides URLs and websites that help the reader go deeper into new interests.
  • Antennas remain a key area where all hams can still successfully experiment and create a key part of their station. This book provides information to help new hams get started cutting their own verticals and dipoles. It explains why some popular multiband antennas may have compromises that impact performance.
  • It gives practical guidelines about choosing transmission lines and building and using baluns and chokes.
  • Digital modes such as RTTY, PSK and the new WSTJ modes are explained.  The computer-to-radio connections needed for these modes are discussed and illustrated.
  • Many hams are motivated by public service and emergency preparedness.  This book describes typical local emergency organizations and national networks.
  • Hams who like to operate while traveling will find practical information on reciprocal international agreements and how to get permission to operate legally.

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