After finishing the Soldersmoke book I cannot do anything else than recommend it to fellow radio amateurs. Soldersmoke is written by Bill Meara (N2CQR), who also runs the Soldersmoke podcast on amateur radio, which already has thousands of fans around the world (being me one of them). Keep reading for a short overview of what you can enjoy if you decide to buy it.
A career in amateur radio
When it comes to amateur radio books I am used to read only technical material: electronics, antennas, equipment construction… the typical things that one would find in the ARRL handbook. This book is something else. Bill Meara presents his progress in amateur radio starting from his teenage years until present days. Bill starts explaining how were his early days in amateur radio and the difficulties that he had to go through. It certainly gives you a perspective on how was the world before the internet… After some years Bill eventually started working for the diplomatic service, a career that made him travel extensively around the world and hence having a QTH on the move until present days. There are many good stories about antenna setups in his different locations through the years, construction projects and interaction with the local ham communities.
A perspective of the hobby
One of the strongest points in this book is that it truly gives an overview of the hobby: amateur radio goes beyond operating ready-made radio equipment; it is also about studying, understanding experimenting and building your own gear. This is something that is made clear in the book and Bill made his case showing how amateurs can enjoy this process.
Verdict: Go for it!
While reading the book I was able to see myself in some of the chapters and I am sure the same will happen to many other readings. This is quite nice since it gives you a “you are not alone” feeling in your radio career. I am not too fond about the technical parts of the book (there are a few explaining key concepts) and an advanced reader will find them basic. On the other hand the explanations are good and very readable for an audience without a technical background.
To sum up, this book is an enjoyable reading for any radio amateur, no matter how many years you have been in the hobby. You can find it in amazon for kindle as well as in lulu.com as a hardcopy.