A curated list of the best non-technical ham radio books

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

There a numerous technical ham radio books out there that deal with every conceivable ham radio related matter ranging from antenna building over electronics to digital signal processing. No matter is too obscure that you would not find a book for it. Much more rare are books that manage to capture the magic of ham radio in written form and convey it to the reader. Consequently I’m maintaining a curated list of non-technical ham radio books that do just that: capture the imagination of the reader and allow them to feel the magic of ham radio.

Note: This article deliberately does not contain any links. I trust that you, dear reader, are perfectly capable of feeding them into the search engine of your choice and obtain your own copy, should you so desire.

Riding the Shortwaves: Exploring the Magic of Amateur Radio

ISBN-10: 1478298510

ISBN-13: 978-1478298519

This book published by Don Keith in 2012 is the most stirring ham radio book I’ve ever read. It follows Don’s life from his initiation into ham radio by means of a local ham („elmer“) to his career as a television producer until his retirement. Ham radio is present at every station of his life and I daresay that his professional occupation was put to good use capturing and conveying the magic of ham radio to any reader.

SolderSmoke: Global Adventures in Wireless Electronics

ISBN-10: 0578053128

ISBN-13: 978-0578053127

Published in 2014 this book follows Bill Meara (of the SolderSmoke podcast) from diplomatic post to diplomatic post (he’s a US diplomat after all) while detailing his ham radio adventures and the many people he meets along the way. This book is interspersed with light electronic theory – which you can skip if you just want to get the story. While not as thrilling as Don Keith’s „Riding the Shortwaves“ the book still does a good job conveying Bill’s lasting passion for ham radio.

Wow, only two books. That’s the reason I’ve hesitated for a long while until publishing this post. But as written in the into there are not really that many non-technical ham radio books. Fewer still that manage to stir one’s passion and impress the magic of ham radio on the reader. If you know of any that should be added, please let me know in the comment section.

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