Hogwash for Hamsters by Jerry Spring VE6CNU

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Chris Colclough G1VDP recommends some light reading to counter the seriousness with which some of us address the hobby!

Reviewed by Chris Colclough G1VDP

When I first discovered and read this book a few years ago it was through the recommendation of one of the guys from the Finnish Contest group. He had read the book and knew how I had a sense of humour and liked funny entertaining stories. So, I ordered the book direct from Trafford publishing for my library: www.trafford.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-000164317


Having now read the book I can honestly recommend it. Jerry has a similar background in the hobby to myself and many others. He took his test at a similar time to me, and through the fact of getting married and moving homes he put the hobby on a back burner for a similar period. So, I thought maybe this guy is seeing the hobby from a similar angle to me. 


The book itself is a light-hearted and humorous look at the hobby with some very funny stories, poems, limericks and jokes. There are too many people who take the hobby way too seriously these days, not that this is a bad thing but sometimes it is better to look at the hobby from a funny side too, and I think Jerry has got this balance just right.


Once the British reader gets past the Americanisms and the American/Canadian sense of humour – remember the author is Canadian and we all find things funny in different ways in the many differing countries – it is a very funny book. I found it hard to put down, especially one night when I got in bed at 22:00 and started reading it, looking at the clock only to see it was almost midnight and I had to be up for work at 05:30! 


Jerry starts the book off by introducing himself, which as I said earlier is a very similar history to me, and then leading with a story where I am sure we can all relate to about that elusive DXpedition and that starts off the tone of the book. 


We find jokes such as “What do you call a CW operator equally good at sending with his left or right hand?” “AmbiDXterous” (one that I had to read twice before getting the joke). 


There are takes on the Nursery Rhymes we knew as children: 
Little Bo Peep,
Has lost too much sleep,
Chasing DX until three,
Too many nights,
As she kept on the lights,
Trying for DXCC.


Jerry has also come up with his own Murphy’s Law for hams, a page full of true statements of “Remember When”, which again most of the readers who have been licensed for a few years will relate to while the new guys will have heard similar stories at the local club. Adverts for equipment for sale, questions from the Foundation exams written in Jerry’s own way and many other sideways looks at the hobby. 


Would I recommend it? You bet, but it would be nice to be able to get the book from say the RSGB/PW Bookstore in the UK rather than ordering and waiting, as each book is printed to order so I am led to believe. Some of the stories and jokes will be heard at many of the conferences and meetings around the world, each being told by the orator in their own way. In fact, I am reading my copy once again for this very reason.


Footnote: Since I wrote this review the book is now available direct from Amazon in Kindle format for £11.99. Buy your copy of Hogwash for Hamsters here!

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This review was featured in the February 2020 issue of Practical Wireless