As I switch over to homebrewing, rolling my own radios, I have been consulting my library more often. When I talk about a library, I mean physical, hardcopy, printed on paper books. They work without electricity, and will continue working long past the death of the least cheap, China-made e-book. With that said, the Internet is a great resource for PDFs to add to your library. Many of these titles may be more easily available online. Print them out on acid-free archival grade paper, bind the copies, and put them on the shelf after you’ve read them. Some of these books are out of print. I found my copies at used bookstores and hamfests, and that’s where you’ll find yours.
Here are some of the better ones:
- ARRL Handbook For Radio Communications/Radio Amateurs
Start by getting an edition from within the past 10 years, then get one for every decade going back to the 1950s.
- ARRL Antenna Book
Any recent edition will work.
- Radio Science Observing – Volumes 1 & 2, by Joseph Carr
- Solid State Design For The Radio Amateur – ARRL
- W1FB’s Design Notebook – ARRL
- QRP Notebook – ARRL
- Experimental Methods in RF Design – ARRL
- Getting Started in Electronics, by Forrest M. Mims III
- Soldersmoke, by Bill Meara
- 1934 Short Wave Radio Manual – Lindsay Publications (now Your Old Time Bookstore)
- Those Great Old Handbook Receivers – Lindsay Publications (now Your Old Time Bookstore)
- Single Sideband For the Radio Amateur – ARRL, 1970 edition
- New Sideband Handbook, by Don Stoner
- Spread Spectrum Sourcebook – ARRL
- Impoverished Radio Experimenter 1-6 – Lindsay Publications (now Your Old Time Bookstore)
- How to Build Hidden Limited-Space Antennas That Work, by Robert Traister
- The Voice of the Crystal, by H.P Friedrichs
- VHF Handbook, by Orr and Johnson
- The Radio Amateur’s VHF Manual – ARRL, 1972 edition
- Engineer’s Mini-Notebooks – Science and Communications Projects, by Forrest M. Mims III
- Engineer’s Mini-Notebooks – Electronic Sensor Circuits & Projects, by Forrest M. Mims III
A little mood music:
You can go listen to Bartlebeats, or whatever the popular millennial techno-geek music is these days. I prefer stuff that’s a little more old school. Stuff you might hear on the right AM station late at night in the middle of the Rocky Mountain high desert. Because that’s where the new Interzone is…
Kits are OK. If anything they help get you started. If you, however, want to experience the purest essence, you breadboard out your project like they did back in the day, and use scrounged parts from castaway consumer electronics, just like Frank.
Here is the web page of a fellow ham operator that has provided some inspiration: http://www.neoanderthal.com/wa7mlh.htm
And one last link for you to peruse and download. This one is full of good info: http://www.wa0itp.com/crystalsetsssb.html
http://www.qrparci.org/wa0itp/csts_book.pdf – All the chapters in one PDF.
The Outland #2
Issue #2 (two), started March 14th, 2017. Originally created on a Smith-Corona Silent manual typewriter. Transcribed with an old Compaq laptop running Ubuntu Linux and LibreOffice. Free where you can find it, usually via the World Wide Web at https://ticom1983.wordpress.com/. Otherwise, send a few bucks to Tom F, PO Box 1351, Riverton WY 82501. Trades with other print zines gladly welcomed. This is my mini newsletter on teknology, survivalism, dystonautics, living in God’s country, aka Wyoming, observations on life, and whatever else strikes my fancy. If anyone reading this is so moved to contribute, your submissions are more than welcome, but my advice is to find your own voice, pick up an old typewriter at a tag sale, and create your own mini newsletter like this one. Not all who wander, are lost.
There are few things that can beat listening below 93 MC on a quiet evening while wielding one’s writing instrument of choice. Analog at its best. This evening’s selection is a classical music show on Wyoming Public Radio. The author tunes into another station during “news” broadcasts unless he wants to hear what the “opposition” is up to that week. Besides, everyone knows the best information broadcasts are found late at nite between 520 and 1700 KC. 88-108 MC is for entertainment. The author first read of this technique in Atlas Shrugged, but the Berkshires are too spendy for a retreat, as nice as they are. The Wind River Basin is just as nice, if not nicer. The author is enjoying his semi-retirement in God’s Country much more than he would have back in the land of the dead. It is now midnite, in New York.
The author, over the past couple months, has been stripping down discarded electrical and electronic devices for their components. The salvage will be used in various projects and experiments. One interesting and humorous source of inspiration was a fictional, but technically accurate, series of amateur radio-themed stories called “The 5 Meter Liberation Army.”
One of the things that does beat 88-93 MC listening during the evening is listening between 530-1700 KC later at nite. George Nory on Coast-2-Coast is the main listening fare, but there are other equally-interesting programs on during the night shift. My old Arvin performs yeoman service in this regard, pulling in stations from Illinois to California. It is now midnite, in the high desert.
I received a postcard from a reader in the SeaTac area. PIPE7IN3 sends:
TOM – I HOPE THIS CARD FINDS YOU WELL. THANK YOU FOR ALL OF THE WORK YOU DO BRINGING BACK THE OLD DAYS OF ZINES. IT MAY BE THE FUTURE TOO. I HAVE A SMALL TREASURE HUNT FOR YOUR READERS. THERE IS A PRIZE. LOCATION: pnw. THANKS.
A QUEST-A GIFT- FOR ONE SEEKING THE INTERZONE; IN THE GREAT CHIEF’S CITY: ENTER THE UNNATURAL CANYON OF ELLIS: MOSS COVERED LEDGES: AT THE LOWEST*FOLLOW GREY STONE*PAST THE NOISY DOOR; TRN RIGHT, LOOK LOW; GREY TAPE ON WALL
The postcard was a very nice print from PacNW artist Tim Wistrom called “Rust in Peace I.” You can find it and other nice ones at http://www.halycon.com/gdc or send $3 for a catalog to GDC Inc., POB 31154, Seattle, WA 98103. Thank you, PIPE7IN3.
I attended the amateur radio swap-meet (hamfest) in Longmont, Colorado on April 1st. Have not been to a hamfest in 2 years, and it was only my second since moving out west. It was larger than most “local” hamfests back east, and a much friendlier crowd than what you encounter back east. Acquired some parts and books to further aether-surfing experiments; a 1949 ARRL Handbook and the late Doug DeMaw’s (W1FB/SK) Design Notebook. There used to be a time when ham radio operators built their own gear out of scrounge-tek instead of buying it, but these days the Amateur Extra class exam is about as hard as the Technician/General exam was thirty years ago when the FCC didn’t publish a question pool.
I was visiting the local library’s “book adoption day” (used book sale), and found myself paying the princely sum of 50 cents for a 1982-dated Amateur Extra Study Guide that was written by the editors of 73 Magazine and published by TAB Books. Back then, they actually wanted hams to be knowledgeable in electronics, and not just memorize answers out of a test pool. The book was a very well-written, easy to understand, technical work on electronic theory that would do a good job at teaching you the topic. Quite unlike the “study guides” published these days.
I remember when hams were disparaging Dick Bash for interviewing test takers in order to ascertain questions and correct answers on the ham tests back when the information was not public knowledge, and now it’s perfectly acceptable for someone to walk into a VEC session, pass all three tests by memorizing answers, and be an Amateur Extra with close to zero practical knowledge of radio.
The book that helped get me the ticket is From 5 Watts to 1,000 Watts, and was published by Radio Shack of all places. It was actually discontinued and out of print at the time, but the local stores still had copies of it. It was very good for teaching you electronics and imparting enough knowledge to pass your Novice and Technician/General written tests.
I received a note from Lisa Ahne in Oregon, who publishes the excellent Dwelling Portably & Ab, (send a few bucks to POB 181, Alesa, OR 97324) asking about hitchhiking in Wyoming. Hitchhiking has been officially legal in Wyoming since July 1st, 2013. With that said, the weather in this state can change and get very interesting real quick on a regular basis, so be prepared accordingly. It has snowed in July here. There are also wide spaces of desert. Make sure you have enough water when traveling. The climate and weather out here can be very unforgiving to the ill-prepared. Otherwise, it’s a nice state to visit.
Issue #2 (two) finished June 6, 2017. Copies encouraged. Free where you can find it, usually at https://ticom1983.wordpress.com/. Communications via email at <email@example.com>, or preferably via snail mail to Tom F., POB 1351, Riverton, WY 82501.
Working on the next issue. Probably have it done in a couple days. Otherwise, the Wyoming Weapons Collectors Annual Gun Show is this weekend in Riverton. Always find some odd cool useful item there.
See you all later today.
Acquired a few old TVs to strip down for parts:
The two local Radio Shack stores are actually franchises. With their current organizational woes, these may have been the last RS bulk parts packs in Wyoming:
We used to have an NTE distributor in Casper, but they closed up shop recently. There is always mail order, but that lacks something, and might be considered cheating by some. At least that’s what Abbey tells me.
Issue #1 (one), started March 8th, 2017. Originally created on a Remington Rand Quiet-Riter manual typewriter before being transferred to digital format. Free where you can find it. Communications via email at <firstname.lastname@example.org>, or preferably via snail mail to Tom F., POB 1351, Riverton, WY 82501. This is my mini newsletter on tekhnology, survivalism dystonautics, living in God’s country, aka the State of Wyoming, observations on life, and whatever else strikes my fancy. Feel free to copy this newsletter and pass it along to friends, acquaintances, et al. I am Tom F. from the Wind River Basin in Central Wyoming. Until two years ago I lived in the Northeast U.S. Wyoming is much better. You may have read some of my previous worls under the pen names of Ticom (Cybertek Zine: The Cyberpunk Technical Journal) & Sparks31. To quote Bob Dylan, “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” You might also see some writing from my wife Carol Alisa, my old friend and Cybertek co-conspirator Wildflower (who uses a #2 pencil) and maybe some of the other old crew if they stumble across this polemic and decide to send something in. Of course if anyone reading this is so moved to contribute, your submissions are more than welcome, but my advice is to find your voice, pick up an old typewriter at a tag sale or flea market, and start creating your own mini newsletter like this one. Not all who wander, are lost.
After writing in the survivalist genre since the late 1980s, the more I think about it, the more I like the term “dystonaut,” and that approach, instead of survivalist, prepper, threeper, or whatever is popular this year. Dystonaut, from the Greek “dysto” (not), and “naut” (traveller). Voyagers through dystopian space. Poor travellers. You get the drift. Post-modern coyotes scratching out a living in the American remains. Home on the strange. I like it, especially out here in the desert.
I was at Windy City Books in Casper (WY) not too long ago, and came across a book I can recommend. It is titled The Wander Society, and is written by Keri Smith. The philosophical stance is well within that of dystonauts.
Putting together a good library of technical and non-techincal books is one of the best things anyone can do. You need to locate and frequent every used bookstore and independent bookstore within traveling distance of your home. When you visit the place, make sure you go through all the shelves. You never know what you might find, especially since some of the better stuff gets mis-sorted. If something calls out to you, take it off the shelf, and give it a look-through. If it looks good, take it home. Eventually you will have a good library put together. Here are the current titles on my desk;s shelf:
Wilderness Essays, by John Muir
Bushcraft 101 & Advanced Bushcraft, by Dave Centerbury
Nova Express & The Soft Machine, by William S. Burroughs
Leaves of Grass, by Walt Whitman
Tesla, by Margaret Cheney
Clockwork Lives, by Kevin Anderson & Neil Peart (Yes, the drummer from Rush.)
My Cool Shed, by Jane Field-Lewis
The Knowledge, by Lewis Dartnell
The Art of Tinkering, by Karen Wilkinson & Mike Petrich
The Typewriter Revolution, by Richard Polt
Mad Science & Mad Science 2, by Theodore Gray
Taking Shots: The Photography of William S. Burroughs, by Patrica Allmer and John Sears
Since moving out here, I have noticed that the overall quality of finds at the local used bookstores is much better than it was back East. The nearest chain bookstore was Hastings that was 2 ½ hours away. They weren’t too bad as far as chain-stores went. My nearest used bookstore is about 30 minutes away, and both Jackson and Casper have pretty good independents. In comparison, back East there were six Barnes & Noble stores within driving distance, and I rarely found anything in them. That oversaturation managed to kill off all the good independents and used bookstores in the area, the places where you’d find the good stuff.
Now you can take that list, and have them all ordered and delivered from Amazon within a few days if you’d like, but what you should really do is go visit a good used or independent bookstore in your area and see what you can find. You’ll be much better for the experience if you do it that way.
I’ve been doing a lot more reading since moving out here. That is, reading of the printed book variety. There is only one high-speed, or really any-speed Internet service in this part of rural Wyoming, and it’s very spendy at around $200/month. For low-bandwidth stuff like checking e-mail, we just just prepaid mobile phones with 3G/4G data. You can tether them to your laptop through USB or WiFi. Reasonably-priced and works OK. The cities have more choices when it comes to Internet service, for those who don’t mind living in a city. I don’t find the lack of regular connectivity to be a handicap. In fact, the lack of distraction from being constantly connected allows you to get more work done. There is a reason terms like “web” and “net” are used to describe it.
Shortly after moving out here, I found this 1960s(?) vintage Arvin multiband radio for all of $30 at an antique mall in Laramie. It has AM broadcast, shortwave (to 7 MHz.), and longwave coverage, and runs off a few AA batteries. You can find units like this all the time at antique shops, tag sales, and auctions, and use it to pick up news broadcasts from around the world. It’ll give you a different perspective on things from the junk you’ll get on the Net and off broadcast TV. It won’t spy on you like your TV or phone. If the power goes out, or cell service, or Internet, it’ll still work. I can even keep some AA NiMh batteries ready for it with a solar-powered charger. As a bonus, it uses discrete electronic components so if it ever breaks I can fix it.
The best time to listen is at night. You’ll be able to listen to different AM stations many states away, especially during the winter, and worldwide shortwave broadcast stations. Nightime is also when the more “interesting” radio shows are on.
That’s all I got for this issue. If you liked what you read, or have a question or comment, please send me an anonymous postcard of an interesting nature from your region. If you found a physical copy of this newsletter somewhere in meatspace, I’d appreciate knowing where it has roamed. Until next time…
Issue #1 (one) finished March 15th, 2017. Copies encouraged. Free where you can find it. Communications via email at <email@example.com>, or preferably via snail mail to Tom F., POB 1351, Riverton, WY 82501.