Sunday, April 30, 2017


Books.  I love books.  Books and reading are a love that was passed down to me from my Mom. When my sister and I were little kids, my Mom would "treat" us with a trip to the local public library. We would bring home stacks of books to read, and I loved every minute of it. A trip to the library, or even better - the book store, was always enthusiastically welcomed.

That habit stayed with me all my life. When I first became interested in Amateur Radio as a teenager in high school, my "bible" was "The Radio Amateur's Handbook" by Collins and Hertzberg. That book was my constant companion in my teen years and I must have read it, cover to cover, at least a half dozen times. It fueled my wishful dreams of becoming a Ham Radio operator, making contacts with people from all over the world.

I still have that book, and it holds a place of High Honor on my Amateur Radio book shelf.

A few weeks ago, I came home from work to see a rather large package sticking out of my mail box. As I was bringing it into the house, I noticed it was from Schiffer Publishing.  I thought that this was kind of odd, as I hadn't ordered anything from Schiffer. After dinner, I opened the package to find a most wonderful book entitled "Compendium Of Automatic Morse Code".  I couldn't believe my eyes! The book was sent for me to look over and to offer a review.  It is a wonderful piece of work by Ed Goss N3CW.  The amount of work and detail that he put into his book is phenomenal.

Granted, this is a niche book. Not every Amateur Radio operator will gravitate towards an edition like this. If you have a love for Morse Code and for the keyers, paddles and other devices that produce it, then this book is for you.

It is exhaustive in its content and detail and everything about this book screams "quality". From its size, 9 X 11 inches, to the feel of the heavy stock of the pages, to the rich and highly detailed color photography, everything about this book says, "Coffee Table Book for Ham Radio".

The table of contents includes chapters on

Chapter 1: An Overview of Telegraphy and Early Keys - History
Chapter 2 - Code Readers, Oscillators and Morse Trainers
Chapter 3 - The Electronic Keyer
Chapter 4 - The Single-Lever Paddle (Without a doubt, my favorite chapter!)
Chapter 5 - The Dual-Lever Paddle
Chapter 6 - Portable/Miniature/QRP Paddles (My second favorite chapter!)
Chapter 7: Commemorative Paddles
Chapter 8 - Combination Key and Paddles
Chapter 9 - Convertible Paddles and Paddle Modifications
Chapter 10 - Automatic Mechanical Keys
Chapter 11 - The Elements of Paddle Design
Chapter 12 - Paddle Adjustment and Maintenance
Chapter 14 - Telegraph Machines, Keyboard Keyers and Terminals
Chapter 15 - Computer Interfacing and the Internet

And various appendices and a bibliography as well as a list of recommended reading.

Pretty exhaustive, eh?  If you're thinking,"Well really, how much is there to write about on this subject?"  I'll answer that question by saying, "Over 300 pages, as a matter of fact!"

It's not hard to tell that writing this book was a labor of love for N3CW.  It's one of the best if not THE BEST book to come down the pike on the subject.  It has earned an honored place on my book shelf, right next to my beloved Hertzberg and Collins. However, I can tell you that it doesn't stay on the shelf for long. It has been in my hands a lot and will be for a long time to come.

I would highly recommend adding the "Compendium of Automatic Morse Code" to your Amateur Radio library if you're as much as a devotee of CW operating as I am. I can see this book as a golden answer to that age old question that every Ham gets asked every now and then ....... "Honey, is there any Ham stuff that you'd like for your birthday? Or Christmas, or Hanukkah, etc, etc, etc.

Thanks to Ed N3CW and Schiffer Publishing for sending me a copy!  It was a very pleasant surprise and is appreciated more deeply than you will ever know.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Dit, dit!


  1. Anonymous6:10 PM

    Larry thanks for sharing this. I am also a "bookworm" and one that I remember very fondly was Radio Handbook, written by Bill Orr W6SAI. I wouldn't have gotten through my FCC 1st Class ( now GROL ) without it. That was before today's "study guides" where you actually had to learn the material not just memorize the answers hi hi. This truly is a classic. Unfortunately lost it in one of my moves. 73 De N2DV

  2. Thanks Larry, nothing like a book like this. I ordered mine today! Can't wait to reading it and using it as a reference. 73 Gene K5PA