My favorite ham radio book is Solid State Design for the Radio Amateur. An oldie, but goodie indeed.
A few readers have asked me about my favorite ham radio book. After some thought, I settled on Solid State Design for the Radio Amateur, by Wes Hayward and Doug DeMaw. My print copy is the original 1977 edition. If you are interested, you can read the second 1986 edition at the above link.
So, what makes this book special? Why would you want it? Three reasons. First, you are interested in radio design for analog receivers, transmitters and amplifiers, including matching transformers. Second, you want to understand basic electronic theory for using solid state devices, mainly transistors.
Third, you want a ton of simple, individual circuit elements (recipes in a cookbook) that you can build or use in modular fashion. With Solid State Design for the Radio Amateur, you can extract and use many circuit ideas to build a high performance receiver, simple transmitter or low power amplifier.
On the theory side, you are presented a bunch of simple models to analyze DC and small signal performance in transistor circuits. These models are a great starting point before you move up to more complex theory.
Many homebrew hams still use this book for circuit ideas, even though it is long out of print.
My Favorite Ham Radio Book Authors
Some of you will remember Wes Hayward, W7ZOI and Doug DeMaw, W1FB (SK, 1997). These guys were important contributors to ham literature in the late 20th century. Especially as we moved away from tubes towards solid state. Both were engineers as well as hams.
Wes was a prolific circuit designer who re-defined how hams could build and experiment with their own equipment. Doug worked with the ARRL from 1965-1983, and also edited the ARRL Handbook.
Have you ever thought about designing and building some analog circuits? This book is a great place to start.