Self-serving post…but not entirely

Yes, I am trying to sell books. I admit that right up front. That is how I feed my family and pay for Ham gear!

But I also have another purpose in the two new Amateur Radio books I have just published. I continually meet folks who either have considered joining the Ham Radio ranks but simply never followed through. And others who did all the work to get a license, maybe bought a two-meter HT, but never really went any farther in getting the most from our wonderful hobby.

OK, I realize what we all love so much is not everybody’s cup of tea. But I also believe that many who never develop into active Hams drop by the wayside because of four basic roadblocks…real or perceived. (And I am NOT including trepidation about passing the license exam. Anyone too timid to try the test probably wouldn’t take the next steps anyway.)

They are:

1) Putting together a station that would offer a complete and satisfying on-air experience.

2) Putting up an outside antenna.

3) Knowing what to say and do once on the air that would not get them ridiculed.

4) The jargon that has developed over the first century of Ham Radio’s existence.

In my new book, GET ON THE AIR…NOW!, I try to give practical, realistic advice on each of these stumbling blocks. I hope I have been successful because I want to see our hobby continue to grow and prosper.

Get on the Air NOW

One way I tackled obstacle #4–the one about jargon and gobbledygook–was to include in the book a complete Amateur Radio dictionary. As I compiled that section, I came up with far more terms than I expected–more than 1400 terms, 1600 definitions, and hundreds of web links–so I decided to not only make the dictionary a part of GET ON THE AIR…NOW! but publish it as a separate stand-alone book. It is cleverly titled THE AMATEUR RADIO DICTIONARY and is, I am confidently claiming, the most complete ham radio glossary ever compiled.

Amateur Radio Dictionary

You can see info on both books at The books are available wherever books are sold and in all e-book formats as well as in paperback.

But please consider my thoughts on those four hurdles that I believe keep many prospective Hams on the sidelines. If you agree, jump in and become a mentor, advise newcomers (or old-timers who never get on the air) on overcoming them, and help our wonderful hobby to continue to grow as we dive head-foremost into its second century.


Don N4KC

Don Keith, N4KC, is a regular contributor to and writes from Alabama, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

2 Responses to “Self-serving post…but not entirely”

  • Ernest, AA1IK:

    Don, Any encouragement that you give to new or prospective hams is a good thing in my book. I know one particular ham that loves to play with radio, sets up in a local park, does QRP but is mic shy after 20 years of being a ham. Everybody had to start somewhere! Keep up the good work! Its a labor of love, and a very good thing.

    de AA1IK

    Ernest Gregoire


  • Don N4KC:

    Ernest, thanks! I still remember my first contact. My hand was shaking so badly I could hardly tap out my impossible-to-send-anyway Novice call sign. But between then and now I’ve made hundreds of thousands of contacts, been on the broadcast radio for thousands of shows, been on local and national TV multiple times, spoken to groups as large as 35,000, and done much more. I’m convinced that one sweaty, trembling QSO made it easier to do all that later communicating!


    Don N4KC

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