The “business” of land mobile radio requires those working in this field to constantly update their technical knowledge and understanding. The LMR field is diverse, continually evolving, and requires an understanding of a broader range of equipment than many other technical fields. How does one keep up? Reading MRT and attending the International Wireless Telecommunications Expo are two ways. Books and Internet resources are also helpful. In this column, I will recommend a few books and some Internet sites that are worthy of mention.

Edward Singer's Land Mobile Radio Systems is a must-read for technicians working in the LMR field. The first edition was published in 1989 by Prentice-Hall. The second edition, published by Prentice-Hall's Professional Technical Reference Division in 1994, is expanded and updated. The second edition contains 20 chapters and 288 pages of information that is highly pertinent to LMR technicians. Topics include: “Examining Conventional FM Mobile Radio Systems,” “Combining Receivers and Transmitters into One Antenna,” “Improving and Extending Area Coverage,” “Taking Part in the Digital Revolution,” “Improving Radio Shop Management,” “Understanding Land Mobile Radio Propagation,” and “Solving Radio Interference Problems.”

The book can be ordered directly from the Professional Technical Reference Division of Prentice-Hall's Web site at: www.phptr.com or by calling 800-282-0693. The International Standard Book Number is 0-13-123159-6. The cost of the hardcover book directly from the publisher is $70 plus shipping. It can be ordered from other major booksellers. On a sad note, Edward Singer passed away in June 2001.

Neil Boucher's The Trunked Radio and Enhanced PMR Radio Handbook is another must-read for those working in the LMR field. This book contains 448 pages in 30 chapters and several useful appendices. Although it contains some math, it is written in a practical, straightforward manner.

Covered topics include: background on trunked and enhanced public mobile radio, base stations, maintenance, filters, combiners, preselectors, repeaters, linking sites, power and protection, traffic engineering on trunked radio systems, and site planning. Specific systems discussed include MPT 1327, Smartnet, LTR, TETRA, APCO-25, IDEN and other trunked systems. The book also explores equipment shelters, towers and masts, field strength, privacy, modulation, noise, coding, error correction, propagation and fading, amplifier classes, smart antennas and more. The book is published by John Wiley & Sons (copyright 2000). The ISBN is: 0-471-35289-6. More information on the book can be found at www.wiley.com. The book can be ordered online or by calling 800-CALL-WILEY. The cost of the hardcover book is $99.95 from the publisher. It can also be ordered through any of the major booksellers.

Public and Private Land Mobile Radio Telephones and Systems is another useful reference for LMR technicians and others working in this field. This 246-page, 10-chapter book provides extensive coverage of the land mobile radio industry. Topics include an introduction to land mobile radio, SMR technology and evolution, analog and digital land mobile radio systems, LMR economics, future LMR technologies and advanced LMR services plus several useful appendices. This fairly recent (2000) book was written by Lawrence Harte, Alan Shark, Robyn Shalhoub and the late Tom Steiner. It is published by the Professional Technical Reference Division of Prentice-Hall. It can be ordered directly from the publisher or from any of the major booksellers. The cost of the book directly from the publisher is $60.30 plus shipping. It can be ordered online at www.phptr.com or by calling 800-282-0693. The ISBN is 0-13-673609-2.

The late Joseph J. Carr's Practical Radio Frequency Test & Measurement: A Technician's Handbook should be included in every communications technician's “essential” library. As the title implies, the book describes most of the RF test-and-measurement procedures that are commonly used by land mobile radio technicians. Topics include an introduction to RF electronics and measurement theory, small components used in RF test and measurement, the Smith Chart, signal sources and generators, spectrum and network analyzers, RF power measurements, antenna gain and pattern measurements, antenna and transmission line measurements, measuring inductance and capacitance at RF frequencies and time-domain reflectometry. The soft-cover book contains 348 pages in 14 chapters. It was published by Newnes, an imprint of Butterworth-Heinemann and copyrighted 1999. The ISBN is 0-7506-7161-0. It costs $34.95 and can be ordered online at www.newnespress.com or by calling 800-366-2665.

In addition to books, many Internet sites also contain information that is useful to those working in land mobile radio. A good online computer-based training course is available at: www.motorola-wls.com/CW_ACS002/cbt/course.htm. This site provides a good tutorial on trunking and the Motorola Astro digital radio.

Another popular land mobile radio Web site is Rune's LMR Links at rune.tapper.com/lmr.

Many more Web sites offer good information, useful software or online calculators that can be helpful in LMR work. If you know of Web sites that might benefit your fellow MRT readers, pass them along to me, and I will share them with the readers of this column. Please, the Web site must contain something educational or otherwise useful to LMR personnel — not just raw advertising.

Oh, while we're at it, don't overlook www.mrtmag.com.

Until next time — stay tuned!


Contributing editor Kinley, MRT's technical consultant and a certified electronics technician, is regional communications manager, South Carolina Forestry Commission, Spartanburg, SC. He is the author of Standard Radio Communications Manual, with Instrumentation and Testing Techniques, which is available for direct purchase. Write to 204 Tanglewylde Drive, Spartanburg, SC 29301. His email address is hkinley@home.com.