I got to thinking the other day, as I was pondering placing an order for a couple more books from Pages of Cobram that i have started to amass a bit of a library and I probably should write a bit of a review of them. Oh and if you are looking for a bookstore that is not going to mess you about and is competitively priced, give Peter as pages of Cobram a call and place your order there. Just about all my books have been purchased there and never had an issue, ever. I found a book that was not listed and they even ordered it in for me, a 1 off, cannot complain about that.
Anyway, on to the books:
Homebrew Cookbook and Building a Transceiver by Eamon Skelton: Skelton is a good writer and these books are and interesting read, however, cookbook contains a lot of the same material covered in transceiver. If i was buying all over again, i would pick one, either one and be done with it. I am not sure how useful transceiver is in actually being able to build a transceiver from whoa to go, but it is a good read that documents many of the decision making processes the home builder faces. A worthy read, with limited scope for developing the documented project. 6/10
Experimental Methods in RF Design by Hayward et al: This is a book I love to hate, now dont get me wrong, this book is a tomb and a beast, jam packed with masses of information and probably the best text book we have on all things RF and Amateur Radio. Its just that it is hard to find the information you need, the flow is somewhat haphazard and illogical and it just tries to be all things to all men and does not really do any of them well. In some places its practical, in others massively theoretical. I think for me, I am always wanting the pertinent information and less of the fluff. Often times, bits of a schematic are just missing, like the number of turns on a bifilar winding, with a note to look in the transformer section, which is then masses of theory and I still do not understand why or how the turns ratio is calculated, other than most times in HF rigs, its 8T bifilar. Love it or hate it, or as i do, have a love hate relationship with it, its the best we have, but could be so much better and designed much more towards the practical person, rather than theory. 7.5/10
Hands on Radio Experiments by Ward Silver: These books are copies of what was written in the Hands On column in the ARRL mag. The writing is great the projects great, its just its not a complete copy of the column and they are not in chronological order. Its a little frustrating when a project references a project not in the books, or if it is, you need to search all over to find it. I find myself reading bits and pieces of these books over and over, generally before bed. 7/10.
Circuit Overload and RF Design Basics by John Fielding. Circuit overload is great lavatory reading, a useful schematic followed by an explanation of how and why it works. I have learned a fair bit from this book, all while sitting on the toilet. The sections on filters are almost identical in both books, and of all the books i have, these make the best explanation on how to design LC filters of anything i have read and for that info alone, make these books useful. 6.5/10
Radio Projects for the Amateur 1,2,3,4 by Drew Diamond: I find these books to be inspirational, while i am not all that interested in anyone project to build in its own right, when i am stuck for an idea, or a solution, these books seems to have it. The books themselves are copies of articles Drew has written for other publications, the explanations and descriptions are good, and generally give you all the information you really need to know without too much fluff. I will often pick one of these books at random and read an article or 2 before i go to sleep. 8/10
I have a couple more books i will add to this list later, and I have some new ones coming soon that I will also add to this list. Happy home brewing.