My reference book Personal Emergency Communications is by no means an exhaustive “how to” when it comes to ham radio. There are 1300-page tomes on that subject. In fact, this is the definitive Amateur radio guide: the ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications. The handbook also comes with an e-book version with an attached DVD, so you can have a copy handy on your computer just in case.
Note (4/19/2014): If you weren’t aware, the ARRL Handbook is updated yearly. Since this was originally posted, the 2012, 2013 and 2014 editions have been published. As it turns out, the 2014 edition is the “Centennial Edition”, with 1320 pages and 5.5 lbs. of radio reference goodness, including all manner of brand new information and searchable CD-ROM . I haven’t purchased one of the latest versions, but I’m confident that the description ARRL provides is accurate.
Here is the link to the 2014 hardcover edition (currently lower cost than the paperback edition!).
Here is the link to the 2014 paperback edition.
From the ARRL description found here:
This 91st edition of The ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications marks a milestone: the 2014 ARRL Centennial. For 100 years, ARRL has been at the forefront of promoting technical advancement and improvements in radio operating practices. And since 1926, The ARRL Handbook has defined the latest innovations in the field of applied electronics and communications. The Handbook is written by radio amateurs…for radio amateurs, experimenters, engineers and students.
This commemorative edition has been extensively updated and revised…
- A one- or two-tube linear amp for beginning builders
- VHF and UHF signal sources
- QSK controllers for amplifiers (analog and digital)
- MOSFET design for power amplifiers
- Telemetry and navigation data including GPS
- Oscillators and synthesizers
- Current battery technology
- The new Codec2 software for HF digital voice
- New material on microwave techniques
Annual transceiver model review
CD-ROM Inside! Includes all of the fully searchable text and illustrations in the printed book, as well as expanded supplemental content, software, PC board templates and other support files.