Electronics Handbook -- New Book Reviews

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Coming of Age in the Electronic Era.

Forest M. Mims, Ill.

McGraw-Hill Book Company, 208 pages, Hardcover, $16.95

An absolutely fascinating narrative of high-technology-in-the basement by a participant in several epochal electronics developments. He was one of four partners in the garage-spawned company (MITS) which later brought out the first successful microcomputer (the Atari 8800). Mims gives us a first-person account of his growth (along with the early microcomputer industry) from a young experimenter through real contributions (fiber optics and diodes to achieve a telephone breakthrough) to his victory over Bell Telephone and his present position as one of the most widely read (and readable) writers on electronics today.

Included is a behind-the-scenes account of his adventures at a top secret Air Force laser laboratory, his victorious battle with Bell Telephone Labs over his invention, and an incredible story of the time the National Enquirer hired him to eavesdrop on Howard Hughes by reflecting a laser beam against the billionaire’s hotel window.

Mims writes regularly for Modern Electronics and has authored many books for Radio Shack and other firms on electronics.

If you like inside, non-technical stuff about the history of the electronics industry by one who was (and is) there, get this book! LANDMOBILE AND MARINE RADIO TECHNICAL HANDBOOK This book is a complete atlas of the commercial two-way radio field.

It covers the landmobile (industrial, public safety, and land transportation), marine (ratio-telephone and radiotelegraph), and personal radio services. Approximately two million radio stations are licensed in these services.

This book contains updated material from previous books General Radiotelephone License Hand book and Marine Radiotelegraph License Handbook as well as all new material. Here, in this one volume, you will find:

• Two-way radio fundamentals

• Equipment circuit details

• Maintenance and installation data

• Test equipment types and practical usage

Since navigation, radiotelegraphy, and radar remain important facets of a number of radio-communications systems, these fields are also discussed. In addition, there is coverage of cellular radio telephones and satellite communications systems.

Land-mobile and Marine Radio Technical Handbook has been written for current and prospective two-way radio technicians, operators, and engineers. It can be used as a radio-communications textbook in community colleges, trade schools, and universities as well as radio-marine and armed forces radio schools. It should be a public library standard and a reference book for all types of two-way radio businesses. In plant training courses can be organized around its content. A special objective has been to prepare the book as a reference for those electronics persons seeking two-way certification or FCC licensing.

Individual chapters are devoted to:

• Two-way radio services and their frequencies

• Transmissions characteristics and emission and modulation classifications

• Solid-state fundamentals as related to transmission circuits presentation

• Modulation systems used in two-way radio services

• Digital and microprocessor circuits

• Test equipment types and usage

• Antenna systems

• Landmobile two-way radio systems and circuits

• Repeater, trunked, and cellular radio systems

• Marine radiotelephone and radiotelegraph equipment

• Direction finders and loran

• Marine radar

• FCC licensing information

Landmobile and Marine Radio Technical Handbook is a very practical presentation. It provides fundamentals along with a comprehension of advanced practices that can make you a more knowledge able and capable two-way radio technician.

Published by Howard W. Sams & Co., Inc., 4300 W. 62nd Street, Indianapolis, IN 46268. Signed copy available from author: Edward Noll P.O. Box 75 CHALFONT, PA 18914, $24.95 plus $2.00 Postage & Handling.


(The Complete Guide to Buying and Using the Latest Hi-Fi Equipment) Berger and Fantel. 265 pages. Paperback. New American Library. $12.95

This book is the nearest thing to a complete guide on the subject yet written. It should be, because its authors are nearest the ultimate experts on the subject. Unlike many mavens they eschew technicana in favor of plain talk, providing practical methods for negotiating one's way through specifications and sales myths.

Anyone planning to upgrade or start an audio system can profit from reading and rereading appropriate chapters. The book is divided into 26, with major subjects spread among several (Loud speakers get three). Because models and makes change all the time they've by passed the difficult task of specific recommendations. But following their guidelines carefully will get neophytes and experienced audiophiles alike closer to the most for their money than any other advice available. Along with many other eminently practical suggestions they include a brief but excellent section on Making Tape Recordings.

One hilarious mistake crops up, so obvious as to be attributable only to imperfect editing, on page 110; "...the CD is an analog medium." And one small technical statement I question: "There are single-play turntables which play both sides of the disc...separate arms to play each side.." If there still are, today, few shoppers will find them.

In sum, an excellent guide, devoid of cant and myths, both of which abound in too much writing on the subject. Highly recommended for everyone planning to spend money on audio gear.

Charles Graham


Louis Freznel

Howard Sams, Indianapolis, IN 318 pages, paperback, $21.95

This comprehensive self-teaching book uses the programmed instruction way of transmitting information to the reader. That is, it's organized into many small pieces of information, each followed by a drill on that material, and finally, a very brief quiz on that bit of information. This is called programmed instruction, for teaching oneself when no other human teacher is available.

The material included covers all that most people will need, and then some (programming languages and operating systems). For anyone who is more than a casual potential buyer of a micro system, this book is excellent. If you just want to buy a micro and be done with it, this book will require more effort than you need to invest in it.

Along the way items like "telephone link" (modem), "Teletext" (similar to Viewdata), "telemetering," and "terminal," are covered briefly but clearly. RAM (Random Access Memory, that part of the micro which remembers what's going on, and what you type in) and ROM (Read-Only Memory, where the micro gets many of its instructions on what to do and in what order to do them) and other words found in the glossaries are explained in much better detail than is possible in brief lists of computer buzz words.

Despite it's early publication (see first paragraph, above) this book should be on the bookshelf of every serious computerist, technician, and interested layman.


Bailyn & Gale. 325 pages, paper.

$16.95 Howard W. Sams & Co. Indiana polis, IN 46268 This comprehensive book details everything one needs to know about installation and maintenance of a home TV satellite system in a straightforward manner. The topics the authors cover include (of course) fundamentals of how satellites for home TV reception often called Television Receive Only (TVRO) stations work, the frequencies used, the major (and other) components, and how they need to be taken care of.

This book is suitable both for service technicians getting into the field as well as for home enthusiasts who want to do their own purchase and installation of a home setup for picking up some of the hundreds of satellite signals now available to those who want to invest the time and effort in this absorbing hobby.

Also see: Two-IC Radio


More from EH magazine: Tandy's Radio Shack

Adapted from: Electronics Handbook--Spring 1987

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