A new ARRL Antenna Book

The 25th edition of the ARRL Antenna Book is on the shelf now, joining the 22nd edition book I picked up when I was first licensed in 2012. 

The cover of the 25th edition ARRL Antenna book
25th edition of the ARRL Antenna book

It’s a pretty big book, and the digital download weighs in at about 1 GB (~1.4 GB uncompressed). About 1GB of that is the supplemental content, software, propagation prediction, and antenna modeling files. By contrast, the CD included with the 22nd edition was just under 650 MB. 

Content wise, it’s pretty similar to the 22nd edition with some expanded sections on antenna modeling and propagation. Where this version shines is in all the extra content provided in the digital download. The supplemental files for each chapter alone accounts for about half the size of the digital download (about 770 MB).

The 25th edition goes for the same simple black cover and silver text as the 100th edition ARRL Handbook.

Looks pretty good next to the 2014 Centennial edition and 2023 100th edition of the ARRL Handbooks.

2014 Centennial edition and 2023 100th edition of the ARRL Handbooks next to the 25th edition of the ARRL Handbook
2014 Centennial edition and 2023 100th edition of the ARRL Handbooks next to the 25th edition of the ARRL Handbook

New Handbook additions

Some new amateur radio handbooks got added to the collection this week.

At a used bookstore with a much larger selection of amateur radio related books than expected, I found a hardcover 1989 ARRL Handbook in pretty good shape and decided to add it to the collection.

Front cover of the 1989 ARRL Handbook
1989 ARRL Handbook

It’s about as hefty as the 1988 ARRL Handbook that was added to the collection a while back. I really like the 1980s and 1990s ARRL Handbooks for all the homebrew projects they have in them.

Thanks to my father-in-law, I also now have a 23rd edition of the Radio Handbook by William Orr/W6SAI, which will go along with the 17th edition Radio Handbook I was given a while back.

Front cover of the 23th edition Radio Handbook by William Orr W6SAI
1997 23rd edition Radio Handbook by William Orr W6SAI

He also gave me a copy of an 8th edition of The Radio Amateur’s Handbook by A. Frederick Collins, from 1940.

Front cover of The Radio Amateur's Handbook by A Frederick Collins
1940 8th edition of The Radio Amateur’s Handbook by A. Frederick Collins
Title page for The Radio Amateur's Handbook.  The left page is a photograph looking up to the top of a tall tower.  The title page reads: A complete and practical g uide to radio construction and repair by A. Frederick Collins author of Wireless Telegraphy.  Eighth edition revised by E. L. Bragdon radio editor of The New York Sun.
Title page of The Radio Amateur’s Handbook

Lots of good info in these books. Going to have to make some more room on the shelves to squeeze these in.

The Radio Handbook

Another radio handbook has joined the collection, but not an ARRL handbook this time.

This one comes to me courtesy of a local ham friend who’s been downsizing a bit. A very nice gesture for which I’m very grateful.

The Radio Handbook (14th ed), edited by William Orr/W6SAI and published in 1956 by Editors and Engineers Ltd. It’s a well used copy and the spine is not in the greatest shape. It’s come unglued from the book and is quite literally hanging on by the threads of the cloth covering. I’ll have to see if I can do something about that. The rest of the book seems in reasonable shape for a 66 year old book.

I haven’t gone through a lot of the book yet but based on the table of contents, it seems to cover many of the same topics the ARRL handbooks cover.

It might be an interesting and fun exercise to compare this edition of the Radio Handbook with the 1956 ARRL Handbook.

A 1985 ARRL Handbook

In this year’s ARRL Auction, I managed to score a 1985 ARRL Handbook to add to the collection.

Front cover of the 1985 ARRL Handbook

It’s in pretty decent condition, although the binding is broken in about the middle of the handbook. Going to have to see if there’s a good way to patch or fix that.

This handbook probably would have first gone on sale in late 1984, so I would have been in the middle of my first year of high school when this handbook came out. Even as late as 1985, there’s still a pretty big section devoted to vacuum tubes and vacuum tube gear. Aside from an old broken radio that was in our basement, I don’t think I had encountered any electronics that used vacuum tubes back then (well, televisions perhaps, but those are a different kind of vacuum tube).

The table of contents covers radio topics you might expect for radio technology from 37 years ago.

1985 ARRL Handbook table of contents

Interestingly enough, there seems to be more on vacuum tubes in the 1985 Handbook than there is in the 1980 Handbook. At some point between the 1980 and 1985 Handbooks, the Handbooks gained a considerable amount of weightpages.

Size comparison between the 1980 and 1985 ARRL Handbooks

Might be interesting to go through the two and see what kind of content got expanded on with all the added pages.

A 2023 ARRL Handbook

With the 1926 1st edition ARRL Handbook bookending my collection at one end, I now have the 2023 100th edition ARRL Handbook to be a bookend at the other end of the collection.

Cover of the 2023 100th edition of the ARRL Handbook

It’s a pretty hefty tome, and like previous handbooks, stuffed full of pretty much everything a person needs to know about amateur radio.

The hardcover Handbook also gets you the electronic version of the Handbook as well (I was sent a link to download both the Mac/Linux and Windows versions), which includes a ton of supplemental content for each chapter, project PDFs, and some software as well. What I haven’t seen in the electronic version (yet) is the insert between pages 15.18 and 15.19 giving a look at the evolution of the Handbook over the decades.

Insert in the 2023 ARRL Handbook providing a look at the ARRL Handbook over the decades.

It’s a nice little review, starting with an interview with K1NKR and his collection of QSTs and Handbooks (sounds like he’s got all but two of the Handbooks…quite the impressive collection) and then highlighting changes in the Handbook by decade.

Looks pretty good on the shelf with the other Handbooks.

2023 100th edition handbook added to the ARRL Handbook collection