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Reviews For: So You Want To Be a Ham by Robert Hertzberg 1971 5th Edition

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Review Summary For : So You Want To Be a Ham by Robert Hertzberg 1971 5th Edition
Reviews: 1MSRP: 5.25
So You Want To Be a Ham has all the information necessary to become a ham operator. This includes the requirements for the various types of licenses, how to obtain the license and discusses equipment and procedures. Published by Howard S. Sams.
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
W4KYR Rating: 2016-10-31
Great book from a historical point of view Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.

This is the Fifth Edition, published in 1971 by Howard Sams & Co. This book was in my local library around the very early 1970's. When I saw this on one of the online bookstores going for under $5 I snapped it up.

From a purely historical point of view, this paperback classic is filled with photos of hams at their stations using now what we call vintage equipment. One picture was of a lady ham from Iowa who could send and receive at an impressive 60 wpm. Another picture is a ham who has his rig on the floor behind the driver's seat! The rig was so big that he couldn't even fit it under his dash.

Some of the rules were different back then. According to the book, as of 1970. There was an $9.00 fee for the Technician or Conditional License to take at home. The same fee was said to apply to Technician and higher classes which were taken at FCC district offices. For the Novice license, there was no fee. Conditional licenses were the given to applicants who lived more than 75 or 175 miles (depending on the time period) from an FCC exam site. The Conditional had the same privileges as the General, but could be retested at any time in front of the FCC.

Some oddities, there is no mention of the 160 meter band when they listed the HF allocations on page 105. According to wiki, 160 meters was considered the 'Orphan Band' prior to the 1984 due to the LORAN navigation systems in use at the time. Of course there were no WARC bands, PSK31 or 'sound card applications' way back then.

In addition to the many pictures and descriptions that run throughout this book. There are some historic photographs of legendary New York FCC Examiner Charles Finkelman, W2UHS. He gave exams and ran that infamous motor driven keyer which produced the code test back in the day at the NY FCC district office.

According to the book. Charles Finkelman ran though 500 applicants a month at that New York FCC district office. This might very well have been the busiest district office in the country. The FCC district office was where you went to get your ham license, unless of course you were taking the Novice test or Technician Class or you happen to qualify for that 'Conditional' license.

Speaking of photos. There are some rather notable photos include that of Senator Barry Goldwater, Carl Mosley of Mosley Electronics, Arthur Collins of Collins Radio, William Halligan founder of Hallicrafters at his car station as well as his home ham station, Albert Kahn then president of Ten-Tec at his ham station.

There are photos of ham stations, antenna setups, car antennas including the 6 meter 'halo antenna'. The photo of the old console at W1AW. There are photos of hams in military service and of course MARS is explained too.

Page 96 has a price list of 'typical transmitters'. The most expensive one listed was the 'Signal One CX 7' for $1,750. However according to the eham reviews. The 'Signal One CX 7' didn't come out until 1972.

The least expensive was the 'Ameco AC-1' for $25. These days the Ameco AC-1 is considered a classic as well as an collectors item often going for more than $200 at auctions. I believe they are or were selling 'knockoffs' of the AC-1 without the Ameco branding.

Like classic gear? There a lot of them throughout the book. Some call them boat anchors today. When you get to page 182, there is a nice photo of the Chicago showroom of 'Allied Radio Shack' with a lot of classic gear. If you can obtain early editions, like this one from 1971. It should also contain many of these interesting and historic photos.

If you are an older ham, this book should bring back some memories. If you are a newer ham, then buy this book for an exciting snapshot of our past. You should be able to pick this book at one of the online used bookstores for a few dollars. The historical pictures alone just about makes it a must buy. This book gets an 5 out of 5, but purely from an historical point of view.