WD5GNR's Favorite Books

Non-Electronic Stuff

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Electronics Books of Note (Buy 'em Here)

If you are looking for my computer programming books, you are in the wrong place.

[Art of Electronics] [Joe Carr Books] [Ham Books] [Basic Stamp Books] [Misc. Electronics] [Search]

The Art of Electronics

I want to make sure you have a copy of The Art of Electronics by Horowitz and Hill.

This is hands-down, the best electronics book I've seen in 25 years. The book is a practical approach to every facet of electronics and taught me more about every aspect of design than I had learned before. Not much math past algebra (pity to waste all my calculus and diffeq) but enough to develop intuition about design.


  1. Foundations - Ohm's law, voltage dividers, Thevenin's equivalent, capacitors, inductors, transformers, reactance, and diodes
  2. Transistors - Switches, amplifier biasing, the Ebers-Moll model, constant current sources, Miller effect, and Early effect
  3. FETs - Basic FET circuits, switches, MOSFETs
  4. OpAmps - The golden rule of opamps, real-world behavior, single supply operation, feedback, and compensation
  5. Active Filters and Oscillators - Active filters, VCVS, state variable, Twin-T, gyrators, switched capacitor, relaxation oscillators, 555, crystal oscillators
  6. Voltage Regulators - 723, unregulated supplies, zener diodes, ICs, HV regulators, micropower regulators
  7. Precision Circuts and Low Noise Techniques - Precision op amps, amplifier noise, noise measurement, and shielding
  8. Digital - TTL, CMOS, Karnaugh maps, sequential logic, one shots, ICs, and pathology
  9. Digital Meets Analog - CMOS/TTL interfacing, long wires, A/D and D/A conversion, PLLs. and noise generation
  10. Microcomputers - 8086 assembly, I/O, PC bus interfacing, and data communications
  11. Microprocessors - 68008 assembly, an analog signal averager design, and support chips
  12. Electronic Construction Techniques - Prototyping, PC board fabrication, and housing
  13. High-frequency and High-speed Techniques - HF amplifiers, transmission lines, stubs, baluns, AM, SSB, FM, FSK, PWM, and switching
  14. Low-Power Design - Batteries, solar cells, micropower regulators, amplifiers, oscillators, and digital design
  15. Measurements and Signal Processing - Transducers, standards, bandwidth reduction, and FFTs

The book also contains information on oscilloscopes, math, resistors, schematics, load lines, transistor saturation, LC filters, and some data sheets.

At over 1100 pages this is not light reading, but if you read it, you'll walk away with more than you would at your average 4 year school. Highly recommended. Nothing else even comes close.

Order The Art of Electronics now

You can also order the student manual that goes with the book if you want details of the lab exercises.

NEW! There is another book from the same publisher as The Art of Electronics and it is one of the best books I've ever seen on RF design. Not a lot of hand waving like some other books, but hardcore practical information. The best worked out example of designing an oscillator without breadboarding, I've ever seen.

This book, Radio Frequency Electronics by Hagan is a real powerhouse. Here's what you'll find inside:

1. Introduction 2. Impedance matching 3. Linear power amplifiers
4. Filters 5. Frequency converters 6. Radio receivers
7. Class-C and class-D power amplifiers 8. Transmission lines 9. Impedance matching
10. Power supplies 11. Amplitude modulation 12. Suppressed carrier AM
13. Oscillators 14. Phase-locked loops 15. Frequency synthesizers
16. Power supplies II (switching power supplies) 17. Directional power meters and standing waves 18. Small signal RF amplifiers
19. Filters II (coupled resonator filters) 20. Hybrid couplers 21. Low-noise amplifiers
22. Transformers and baluns 23. Waveguide circuits 24. Television systems
25. Radar pulse modulators 26. TR switches 27. Demodulators and detectors
28. Frequency modulation 29. Radio propagation 30. Low-noise amplifiers II
31. Oscillator noise 32. Radio and radar astronomy 33. Radio spectrometry
34. Laboratory test equipment    

Order Radio Frequency Electronics now

One of the great things about these books is that they don't require a lot of math background -- nothing above simple algebra for the most part. However, if you want a refresher on Calculus (or never took Calculus) Instant Calculus is a great book. Not very thick and it uses programmed instruction (where you answer a question and go to a different part of the book depending on your answer). You can whiz through this in two or three days. If I recall my old Calculus courses, this takes you up to around Calculus II with maybe some III thrown in. Anyone can get a fundamental understanding of Calculus with this book.

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Books by Joe Carr K4IPV

If I wrote about electronics instead of computer programming, I'd want to write books like Joe Carr. You may have read some of Joe's columns in 73, Nuts and Volts, and several other magazines. The man also cranks out more books than I do. And, all of his books I have read have been really good. I've only known two people I thought really understood RF (Ben KB5ZO and Lester AJ5P; where are you guys?). But I'd bet that Joe would make #3 if I ever met him.

Some of Joe's books are hard to find, but I buy them up when I can find them. Here are a few titles you can easily get. Follow the link to find out more about the book and/or buy it.

bulletSecrets of RF Circuit Design - The first edition of this book was pretty good. However, the second edition really adds some great material. Check it out.
bulletPractical Antenna Handbook - If you didn't read earlier, Joe knows RF, so any book he writes about RF, antennas, and the like, is really good.
bulletLinear Integrated Circuits - Haven't read this one. If you have it, let me know if you like it.
bulletElectronic Circuit Guidebook: Sensors, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 - This is a good set of books from Carr and published by Sams, so the production values are better than some of the Tab books. There is even a chapter on using the Basic Stamp. (If you are interested in sensors, check out the detector book in the Misc section).
bulletNewnes Antenna Toolkit - This book and CD-ROM has a ton of useful antenna design software, and a text by a guy who really understands RF.

Ham Radio Books

bullet The 2002 ARRL Handbook - A timeless classic. Updated to include lots of information on modern techniques and practices (especially DSP).
bulletThe ARRL Antenna Book - This is a classic book on antennas and has been updated recently. A must have for every ham and most SWLs and scanner enthusiasts.
bulletNow You're Talking! - This is the book many ham radio classes use. If the Alpha Zulu book is too cartoonish for you, try this one (hey, I like cartoons!).
bulletARRL Operating Manual - Want to work PACTOR? OSCAR? NTS? Find out what you've been missing and how to stop missing it!
bulletIntroduction to Radio Frequency Design - This is a really good book if you want to learn to design your own RF circuits from scratch. Just a bit of math in this ARRL book by Hayward.

Basic Stamp and PIC Books

Note: My Book on Basic Stamps is now available. 

bulletProgramming and Customzing the Basic Stamp Computer - Scott Edwards is well-known in the Stamp world, especially to readers of Nuts & Volts where he used to write a column each month. This book is a little introductory -- if you have any experience with the Stamp, you'll probably skip right to the projects, which are pretty good.
bulletBasic Stamp - A pretty good book about Stamps (and the first one that was out). Pity there is no disk, and the writing is a bit rough in places. The first half is mostly review for anyone who has written any sort of Stamp program. But the back half is full of interesting projects (including motion detection, X10, networking, and more). Too bad you can't just buy the back half, but it is worth the price even if you skip the first part completely. You can see this book's table of contents here.
bulletProgramming and Customizing the PIC Microcontroller - This is Myke Predko's excellent book on PICs. I like his YAP programmer, although it requires you to program a PIC to get it to work. Sort of a recursive programmer! But it is still a great example along with many other interesting projects. I'm really curious to try his in circuit emulator for the PIC. Myke's tracked robot looks pretty neat too. If you are having trouble getting started with PICs, get this book.
bulletEASY PIC'n, A Beginner's Guide to Using PIC16/17 Microcontrollers - This is a well-known book that I haven't seen, so I can't really comment on it. Send me your comments, if you have it, and I'll pass them along.
bulletPIC'n Up The Pace, PIC16/17 Microcontroller Applications Guide from Square 1 Electronics - The second book by the same fellow that did Easy PIC'n. Again, I haven't seen it.
bulletMicrocontroller Beginner's Handbook - This is a fairly simple book, but very approachable. If you want a better understanding of microprocessors, and the PIC specifically, this might be the book for you. If you are an experienced person who just wants practical advice on PICs, you'd be better off with Programming and Customizing the PIC Microcontroller.

Miscellaneous Electronics Books

bulletDetector Circuits by Rudolf Graf - This book has information about all sorts of detectors and transducers including information about sensing air-flow, bugs, flow, gas, smoke, magnetic fields, ice, levels, metal, moisture, overspeed, overvoltage, radiation, sound, touch, radar, and much more.
bulletParallel Port Complete by Jan Axelson - If you want to hook something up to a printer port, this is the book. Very complete and authoritative. Mostly Visual Basic examples.
bulletSerial Port Complete by Jan Axelson - This book does for RS232 and RS485 what Parallel Port Complete does for the printer port. Has material on Visual Basic, 8052 Basic, the Basic Stamp, and serial networking.
bulletPocket Reference by Glover - This is handy little pocket book bursting at the seams with formulae, tables, charts. Not just electronics stuff, either. Chemistry, astronomy, carpentry, geology, and more. Well worth $8.
bulletDesk Reference by Glover - This is the big brother to the Pocket Reference (544 pages).
bulletThe Fantastic Inventions of Nikola Tesla by David Childress - Wow! Tesla was maybe the man most ahead of his time I've ever heard of. Like so many people with great ideas, he didn't know how to make use of them either. This book is of historical interest, so don't plan on building any of Tesla's inventions from plans in this book, but a great read.

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