Sunday, July 26, 2009

Book Review (#11 of 2009)

I spend a lot of my time reading textbooks and don't count those as books read. But this is sort of a textbook and I will count it anyway because it was for fun.

The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual: All You Need to Become an Amateur Radio Operator.

This book is to prepare you for the Technician exam, which is the first level of ham radio operator. Why become a licensed amateur radio operator? Isn't that an archaic hobby?

Here are a few reasons:
1. In the case of emergencies you can communicate with a wide range of people and services that you might not be able to otherwise.
2. If you want to be a tornado or storm spotter then you need your license.
3. If you want to be able to carry your police scanner in your car legally you have to be licensed.
4. If you want to be able to talk to astronauts on the international space station you have to be licensed.
5. If you want to be able to communicate with people in far off countries that may not have internet access, or may have it limited by their governments at times (see: Iran) then ham radio is an option.
6. The internet ironically has made amateur radio more powerful. You can now electronically access other repeaters internationally through the internet and use programs like Skype to chat with people who don't have anything other than radio. Can't do that without a license.

I passed the exam on Saturday. I actually took the General class exam and was 3 questions short of passing that as well! So, I hope to skip buying the General manual and just take some practice exams and upgrade my license soon. The exams are a composite of knowledge of regulations, electronics, some physics, and good practice on radio.

Anyway, something I've accomplished this summer... about 15 years after I first decided it would be a good idea. :-/

The manual I give 3 stars out of 5. It gets the job done.

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