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Reviews Categories | Books/Manuals/Videos/Pod-WebCasts on ham radio | Radio Handbook by William I. Orr, W6SAI (22nd Edition) Help

Reviews Summary for Radio Handbook by William I. Orr, W6SAI (22nd Edition)
Radio Handbook by William I. Orr, W6SAI  (22nd Edition) Reviews: 9 Average rating: 4.3/5 MSRP: $30
Description: Radio Handbook by William I. Orr, W6SAI
If you only have room for One text book on amateur radio, this book is for you. Virtually everything you ever want to know is to be found in very readable text. Bill Orr has left us with this Legacy of information about our hobby of amateur radio in his classic easy-to-read style.
This text is a Classic and a Must-Have for Every Radio Amateurs' Library.
Product is in production.
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NS5F Rating: 5/5 Sep 20, 2015 13:02 Send this review to a friend
THE BEST FOR EVERY LEVEL  Time owned: more than 12 months
I've been using Bill Orr's outstanding handbooks since the mid 1960's. If you only have room or budget for one book on amateur radio, then ANY edition of Bill Orr's Radio Handbook is the one to own. Beginning the first edition written in the mid 1930's through the 23rd edition The Radio Handbook was the easiest understood and most definitive book written on our hobby. Tell the XYL to keep an eye out for one at estate sales, yard sales, and used book stores too. If you can't understand topics presented in any edition then you have made a poor choice in hobbies. Really, Bill Orr's books are that good.
N4KR Rating: 5/5 Jul 11, 2008 17:46 Send this review to a friend
MY Choice for a Handbook.  Time owned: more than 12 months
I purchased this handbook (23rd Edition) in the days when William I. Orr was considered a step above the ARRL editors. I still consider this Book one of the finest Radio Handbooks ever printed. Much of the materials published today is not for the real technically minded ham. With the new generation of tech dummies (ex CBers) on the scene (just listen to them talk bout their low SWRs, DSPs and other non-technical subjects) it is really refreshing to read genuine old fashioned radio engineering materials such as this Handbook. As an engineer who has spent most of my life building transmitters (and Receivers) and as a former NASA engineer, I think I can testify to the quality of this book. It is a true classic that is still today just as rich in information as when it was when first published. If you can find one, buy it.
VE3WGO Rating: 5/5 Jan 18, 2005 20:23 Send this review to a friend
A Very Useful Handbook  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have a couple of earlier editions as well as this one (23rd). This Handbook is filled with interesting projects and handy data for hams. Comprehensive tube and transistor tables are the only things I miss in it. There is a lot of great tutorial information on HF/VHF/UHF antennas, and especially power amplifier design techniques and projects, which seems to be the specialty of editor Bill Orr. The technical portions are written in an easy reading format, and theory and explanatory text is clear and understandable, in enough detail to be useful, but not so much as to make the book too big.

This book is handy too. It has a lot of useful data tables, and a convenient size for your bookshelf.

Overall, I have to say it's an interesting book, and it's on my short list of favourites.
W1LC Rating: 4/5 Jan 17, 2005 09:55 Send this review to a friend
Very Good Reference  Time owned: more than 12 months
As chief editor of the 2002-2005 ARRL Handbooks, it would obviously be self-serving (or at least suspect! ;-) of me to review the nearly 1,200-page reference that I oversaw directly for four years straight at ARRL. That said, I've always respected and admired Bill Orr, W6SAI, now a SK (and who could not admire him?). Also and FWIW, as of this writing, the edition pictured above (blue-covered Radio Handbook with modulated waveforms beneath the title) is actually the 23rd-edition Radio Handbook, not the 22nd edition as the text currently states. I have this 23rd edition in what appears to be the fourth printing thereof (published by Newnes/Butterworth-Heinemann, and a 1997 copyright). I purchased it new after owning the 22nd edition Orr Handbook that I purchased used for a bargain $5 cash at the old Deerfield, NH radio flea/fester site in the mid 1980s. I think this 23rd edition book has fewer pages overall than the current 2005 ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications, but it is certainly well endowed with the basics and beyond. As with any worldly book this size, there are annoying -- if not mostly minor -- errors within. They happen, and just ask me how I know! ;-) While I agree with one reviewer that some of the errors in Orr's Radio Handbook are more significant than others, and that some of the material is now VERY dated, much of the material remains both valid and technically relevant to this day; foundational for future hams and professionals alike. It is also a classic reference, even more so now that W6SAI has left us after a long life of service to his fellow hams, country and having inspired countless advancements in the worldwide radio art. For all these reasons and perhaps more, I can honestly give this book a solid 4 to 4.5 rating out of 5, even now in early 2005! Buy it new or used and you're not likely to be disappointed. Having edited four giant Handbooks and listened to reader feedback, I can attest that the experience of reading a Handbook for many is as much a walk through the past (and what others have done to apply the principles and laws of electricity and physics) as it is to capture the hottest new trend in design and construction, etc. A Handbook has to offer almost something of everything for all the readership. With publishing constraints, page limits and limited budgets, the foregoing is what makes publication of such a reference Handbook very challenging, especially in the age of the internet.

73, Dana G. Reed (W1LC)
KW4N Rating: 5/5 Oct 4, 2004 09:49 Send this review to a friend
This is a "must have."  Time owned: more than 12 months
Over the past few years I've been downsizing my extensive library on amateur radio. Only three are left: Radio Handbook by Orr and two others by Orr and Cowan. The "Handbook" was kept because I kept constantly going back to find innovative and practical solutions that other books didn't have.
Orr is of 'the greatest generation' of amateur radio operators and engineers.
KC2KCF Rating: 3/5 Feb 14, 2004 22:42 Send this review to a friend
suffers from sloppy editing  Time owned: more than 12 months
My impression is based on the 23rd edition/2nd printing of the Radio Handbook.

While the principles of radio haven't changed over time, I find that the book tends to concentrate more on showing off specific setups/projects that some hams have built (there's a lot of photos of HF QRO amplifier projects) than discussing the underlying theoretical and engineering aspects. Given the rapid evolution of electronic components, this makes the book more outdated than it would have to be. Incidentally, this edition/printing was published 1987, and a lot of material was already outdated back then.

The biggest drawback is however a string of editing errors. The manuscript has obviously been revised in a hurry without proper proofreading. Many references point to wrong or even inexistent figures/tables. There are also typesetting mistakes in formulas (even Maxwell's equations are incorrect in this edition), and occasionally seemingly fundamental statements in the text don't hold up to scrutiny. It's not a big deal for someone who knows the stuff, but someone trying to learn from the book would likely end up quite confused and not knowing whether some information can be trusted or not.

I use the book mostly for inspirational reading. I rate it 3 (OK) for that use. As an educational/reference book, I'd rate it 1-2. Earlier editions might not suffer from the sloppy editing/typesetting and could thus be better as a reference.
WV4I Rating: 5/5 Feb 4, 2004 16:38 Send this review to a friend
A Classic-One of Many  Time owned: more than 12 months
After seeing another equally shallow post by the previous reviewer, I would not expect him/her to have much appreciation for a highly technical writing such as Bill Orr's Radio Handbook, my copy having been in my library for about 20 years. Obviously, in some respects it does not embrace newer technology, but does cover in great detail AC/DC theory, tubes, power supplies, test equipment, amplifiers, antennas, homebrew projects, etc..
Orr, along with Cowan, also wrote several other smaller, pamphlet size books relating in particular to Interference, Wire Antennas, and Vertical Antennas, to name three, which I have also owned and used repeatedly for years. If you see these or the Radio Handbook at a hamfest, buy them/it.
SSBDX Rating: 2/5 Feb 4, 2004 13:16 Send this review to a friend
Average  Time owned: more than 12 months
Orr's book like alot of other books written for hams is poorly written. Ham "handbooks" are written by authors who can't seem to decide what kind of audience they are writing to. These books tend to be extremely basic for some subjects but advanced / engineer level for other topics. The construction projects tend to use the same basic design within a topic. Its not uncommon to see 5 amps using the same tube. Much of the information is dated. Some info in the book goes back decades and should have been rewritten and updated. Overall, its probably better than nothing.
WV4R Rating: 5/5 Feb 4, 2004 12:18 Send this review to a friend
Bill Orr has left us radio amateurs a One-Book SOLUTION!  Time owned: more than 12 months
the Radio Handbook by William I. Orr, W6SAI (22nd Edition) is a simply Amazing text for a number of reasons. I first came upon Bill Orr's texts at a hamfest. I first purchased some of his small paperback offerings on selected subjects... "The Radio Amateur Antenna Handbook" - "All About Cubical Quads" - "Beam Antenna Handbook". Aside from Profound Truths, the uniquely simple, straight forward style of Bill Orr is unmistakable. It is like he is sitting there and talking to you. You just cannot miss what he is saying to you. So When I heard he had passed away to the land of the Big-DX, I started wondering just how many books he had authored for us amateur radio enthousiasts. VOILA! I discovered the lost treasure simply entitled "Radio Handbook". This 'compendium' is exactly 1,200 pages long so I can only say... try to find one, pick it up, open it up to Any page and prepare to be amazed at the veritible Wealth of very readable and understandable amateur radio Facts and Factoids at your fingertips. Because it is so thorough, because it is so readable, because it is a One-Book Solution, because it is a legacy Bill Orr has left us 'amateurs'... it Definitely earns the wv4r FIVE-Star Rating. 73 es God bless, murf.

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