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Beginning Radio Communications


A Review of a New Beginners' Guide to Radio

Beginning Radio Communications – Radio Projects and Theory

Alex Wulff 2019,  Apress Media LLC. 2019

ISBN-13 pbk: 978-1-4842-5301-4    ISBN-13 eBook: 978-1-4842-5302-1 for instant download in colour

223 pp. 130 b/w illustrations Pbk. £24.99

For many years I have been seeking one book that would spark an interest in radio in general, and  SWL and amateur radio in particular. I think I have found it. It’s written through the eyes of a 20-year-old student of electrical engineering at Harvard University.  To give a flavour of the book’s wide coverage, its headings include Basic Radio Theory, Antennas, Communications and Modulation, Exploring Arduino Radio, Amateur Radio, Radio Satellites, 5G, Loran, Radio Astronomy, and so on.

Among the theory, Alex intersperses many low-cost practical projects. The most exciting for a beginner would be the use of a cheap RTL-SDR dongle and Cubic SDR software to receive NOAA satellites and all the HF-VHF-UHF signals you are familiar with. The SDR receiver interface, images and sounds received will earn tremendous bragging rights across the generations. Far more than I could achieve, demonstrating an Icom R71 or Sony ICF2010 tuning into Radio China. The other project of note is using a low-cost Baofeng transceiver to receive various satellites. Both exciting self-directed learning, and discovering radio by doing. Wow. How cool is that?

No book is perfect. Photos are mono and there is much white space. This could have been used to signpost readers to the ARRL, NZART, RSGB and short wave listener resources for wider international appeal. Maybe in the next edition?

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This is the one book that will enable most non-technical readers to learn about radio by doing, using low-price, readily-available, well-proven tools simply explained. It should be in libraries and widely gifted to all those who want to have as much fun as we have over the years, but in an updated form. Well recommended. Details at,,, and other online book retailers.

Look out for a more in-depth review of this title in the April 2020 issue of RadioUser,  including a special offer. Look out for it.

(Source: David Searle ZL3DWS, Hamilton, Scotland [email protected]).

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