Books Inspired By Amateur Radio

This is going to be an especially nerdy post, because not only is it about Amateur Radio, but it involves Amateur
Radio as the subject in a series of adventure novels. Books Inspired By Amateur Radio.  Who can beat that?

What first turned me onto this subject was an article in the April 2016 Edition of QST for the book titled Contact Sport: A Story of Champions, Airwaves, and a One-Day Race around the World.  I bought this book for my Amazon Kindle app, and I have it in my “soon to read” list.  It looked like an interesting read, for sure, but it got me to wondering about what other books might be out there for our hobby.

I have several blogs online, this one being the most active, but I also write a book review blog over at Reading Rookie, and I have lots of books on my Amazon Wish List.  A few years back, I discovered some fictional stories which were written by Ham Radio operators, where the story involved using radios in emergency situations.  One such book is called Night Signals by Cynthia Wall.  Upon reading some reviews of this book, I discovered another author named Walker A. Tompkins, who has written a few books back in the 50s and 60s which involved Amateur Radio.  Those include:

There might be a few others by this author, I am still digging.  I ordered a couple of them yesterday, they don’t seem to be in production anymore, but they are available used.  They are also short reads, all less than 200 pages.  I’m looking forward to reading a couple, then writing a review for them.

Night Signals by Cynthia Wall was purchased yesterday also.  I’ve had it in my Wish List for some time, and I decided it was time to go ahead with the purchase.  I some go in phases with reading – I’ll pick it up for a while and plow through several books, then put it down again.  My longest run was about 2 years;  the first year I read about 25 books and the 2nd I read over 30 books, which means it was more than 1 every 2 weeks.  I’d like to do that again.


I don’t only enjoy novels, but also history.  In looking up some historical or documentary reads about Amateur Radio, I found the following:

I am sure the list goes on, but for now, that is all I have saved or purchased.  More updates will come later after I do some reading.

5 Responses to “Books Inspired By Amateur Radio”

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  1. HOWARD ROGOFF says:

    Thanks for your high quality videos and HAM know how. Congrats on your 1st. Anniversary. I just discovered your site and have some catching up to do.
    I still have to take HAM exam as soon as I find a nearby VEC site to do so. This is harder than the test! I could pass the General or Extra exams and know some Morse Code too—since my Boy Scout days, through this is not required anymore. I belong to ARRL and have the ‘QST’ issue shown.
    Please enter this in your contest drawing and thanks again.

  2. Jape:

    K5YAA here. Stumbled upon your post here and thought I would say a word or ten. A ham since 1959 and for a brief bit of background see my page. Interesting, your search for ham radio books and that is the main reason I’m posting this for you. Wondering if you have read Jim George’s “Contact Sport” yet? He and I are good friends since we both are contesters and Morse code lovers of that music as it is a second language for us both. I drove my mobile van to Massachusetts for the WRTC2014 and also for the ARRL’s Centennial celebration. This next summer I plan to go to Europe for WRTC2018 and afterwards will tour of the continent to visit with and hug amateurs I have talked to for nearly sixty years now. Will be a grande trip for sure.

    Now, to the books. Back in 2010 I started my life’s memoir and also wrote a couple of hundred pages into a book about the experiences of “The Young American Amateur” a play on my call sign an original assigned call in 1959 as KN5YAA in the days when a Novice license was required knowing how to send and receive the Morse code at five WPM. A high school friend of mine and myself “stepped” up to a General in 1960, the top license in those years. I saw the word “nerd” used some place here on your blog. Yes, I guess “nerd” is applicable to many if not most “hams” particularly today.

    Personally, even though I taught myself to write code in six languages and designed, developed and manufactured mobile radio-telephone systems in the 70s and 80s I don’t consider myself to be of the nerd category of people in the world. My early years, starting at the age of eight I worked in grocery stores alongside my Dad so the public is a special place for this OT. I love people you see so for the children of the world I am dedicating what has turned into a series of books called “The American Communicator.”

    Some ten volumes are under “construction” as I write this piece to you and both of my memoirs also called “The American Communicator” are being printed in time for Christmas gifts to family and close friends of mine. Those memoirs speak of a “dirt poor” Texas boy who became well enough off to live his life of retirement in reasonable comfort with pretty much daily use of his amateur radio setups. Like I said see my page for a short bio and a number of my mobile exploits on the road these past several years. I have been a contester since 1959 winning the “Novice Roundup” for North Texas and also working all states when there were only forty-nine, Hawaii not yet being a state. I believe there are a few photos of my home station at least the two radio console I have setup in my “shack.” The remote site my high school pal AK5X uses from Dallas is not pictured on that page but I do have shots of it. Bill and I have coffee together because today’s technology makes it seem as though he is sitting right next to me in my radio room.

    Now about the book series. You said you searched for books on ham radio so to did I back in 2010. That dusty series of books no longer in print was the only “human” type book on the subject I uncovered and doggone if it ain’t more fiction than real world communications.

    Murder by QRM (Radio Amateur’s Library) (my favorite title name)
    Death Valley QTH
    SOS at Midnight
    Grand Canyon QSO
    DX Brings Danger

    Yes, these were the only ones I found that had a human personality attached to the grand subject of amateur radio. Virtually every other journal in the world on ham radio is technical in nature. The books I am writing are human stories moreso than “nerdy” stories. Jim George’s “Contact Sport” tells of only a tiny slice of our hobby. The entire subject around amateur radio will in no way fit in the one book I originally proposed to write back in 2010. So today I toil away penning the experiences of “The Young American Amateur” and his lifelong effort to travel the world, meet people who will be his brothers and sisters in time while all the while spreading peace, friendship and brotherhood to all the peoples and especially the children of the world.

    Some history of amateur radio and even communications in general are contained in those journals but mostly the stories are of those “The Young American Amateur” has met on the airwaves. Geography lessons are in those books where we get onboard an ionosphere fueled magic carpet and travel the world continent by continent. The publisher and I expect to start rolling out that series of books by early spring 2018. If you would like I can arrange for you to receive copies especially if you do like to read and care to critique the works of an Old Timer.

    Grapevine, Texas. My Uncle Tom had five grocery stores in the Dallas area. One was in Grapevine and a pal of mine and myself used to stock all five of his stores at night so I know your area of Dallas. Business mioved me and my family away from the concrete slab to come called DFW in 1979 and we have never returned to the big city although my heart remains in Texas. Remember the Alamo!

    Now my 73 and let me hear from you. We both are in what I have coined “The Greatest Hobby Ever Devised by Mankind.”

    G. J. “Jerry” Chouinard – K5YAA

    • jape says:

      Hi Jerry

      Sorry for the delayed reply, I don’t check this blog as often as I used to, but I need to get back into the habit of doing so.

      Yes I am interested in the books you mention. And I also own all of those books you posted the titles of – bought them a couple months ago. But any new, original works you might have, let me know.

      Yes I read “Contact Sport” and I have a personal signed copy from Jim. He and I have met-up at several Hamfests around Texas, and if you ask him about the guy from the Ham Radio 2.0 YouTube series, he should know who I am.

      If you are interested in possibly doing a Skype interview on my YouTube show about your new book series, we could make that happen also


  3. Jim Brown says:

    I read this on W5CAPs QRZ bio and want to find the book, first for me but he says he’s like a copy to: “a novel about two young boys that moved away to college. The details are vague this many years later but the school had regulations against having a radio on campus. So they hid a CW rig in the attic, ran a thin wire out to a tree and proceeded to contact a ham back home.”

    Any idea what book this could be, had to be before 1956. Thanks
    73 DE NY4JB

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