This is a list of publications that are (to the best of my knowledge)
currently available in the United States.
There have been some interesting things that I haven't seen in
many years, such as Popular Electronics, and some that
are not available in (and won't accept subscriptions from) the
U.S., so I'm not including them here.
I make no claim that this list is anywhere near complete.
I'm sure that there are many other good publications I don't
know about, as well
as some "not-so-good" ones that I've intentionally left
off. I've also intentionally left off some good ones (such
as EDN [Electronic Design News] and Spectrum
[the IEEE journal]) that are not typically available to the
This is a brief list of magazines that I've seen that I consider
worthwhile to the electronics hobbyist. There are probably
others, but these will at least give you a starting point.
Nuts and Volts
This monthly magazine is currently the best magazine I know of
for the electronics
There are "how-to" articles, construction articles, and
basic knowledge articles, plus lots of ads for electronics stuff.
The editors seem to be adamant about making sure that the supplies
to build the things discussed in the articles are readily available
(though often by mail-order).
Although the articles are well worth the reading, and many of the
projects are worth the building, I would caution the "newbie"
reader that some of the authors are a bit "opinionated" and
for various reasons are a bit biased for or against certain
technologies (especially for or against certain microprocessor lines).
Despite that, if you're interested in building electronics, a subscription
to this magazine is a "must".
This quarterly magazine is more of a "suggestion box"
about things that you might build. Many of the projects don't
come with exact plans, just outlines for things to do.
Surprisingly, though, some of them are fairly basic, and once you've
gotten your "feet wet" with a few other projects, you should
be able to see how to do at least some of them.
It is a bit pricey, with the July 2010 issue having a cover price
of $14.99, but that particular issue had a project that I've had
so much fun with I consider it well worthwhile.
This is the monthly membership magazine for the ARRL (noted above
under "Organizations". You do sometimes see it on newsstands,
though not all that often. Some, but nowhere near all, libraries
also have this magazine.
Nearly all of the articles are aimed towards some aspect of Amateur
Radio, though occasionally they have things like "general
theory" articles. If you are into Amateur Radio, then I'd
strongly recommend you join the ARRL (which gets you the magazine).
If you're not into Amateur Radio, but are an electronics hobbyist,
then at least locate an issue or two of QST and see if any of the contents
pique your interests.
By the way, the name "QST" is the ham radio "Q"
code for "general announcement to all hams". It is NOT
This is a bi-monthly "optional" magazine for ARRL members.
It is focused towards people building and experimenting with
Note: For the past few years, the ARRL has produced an
annual CD-ROM containing QST, QEX, and some other material.
This monthly magazine is published by the same folks as
Nuts and Volts magazine, but is
targeted at robotics rather than general electronics.
Low Tech Magazine and
No Tech Magazine
These two on-line-only magazines (by a person located in Spain) aren't all that
related to electronics, but none the less they are interesting.
The publisher takes the view point that not all problems need to be
solved by high technology, and provides a
look into historical ways of doing things.
The list of books that I can, in good conscience, suggest
to the hobbyist is fairly
short. No doubt that there are a lot of other books that are worthwhile,
it's just that with the exception of the ones listed here
I haven't used any of them enough to comment on which
ones are good and which ones aren't so good.
The ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications
This book is mainly intended for people in Ham Radio, but it has a
LOT of very useful information about electronics in general.
I would say that about one third of all electrical engineers keep a
copy of this in their office. A new version of it is published every
year, though it's been my experience that going for four or five years
without buying a new copy isn't a problem. At $44.95, it's not an
inexpensive book, but it is worth having. It's available directly
from the ARRL as well as numerous other
sources. You can often find both new and older copies at hamfests.
The C Programming Language
by Brian W. Kernighan and Dennis M. Ritchie (Second Edition)
If you are at all interested in the C programming language,
this book is a "must have".
It isn't all that well written for learning the language, but it
is the definitive reference on the C language, written
by the two guys who originally developed C back in the 1970s.
It's not an inexpensive book, but if you are going to be doing
much C programming, it is worthwhile to have it.
You should be able to find it at any on-line book vendor, or any
local book store should be able to order it (some will have it
Op Amps For Everyone
Ron Mancini, Editor in Cheif
This 464 page book is an excellent reference manual on Op Amps, with
lots of examples.
It also contains a lot of "technical info" that you
can skip if you're not interested.
There's a wide variety of topics covered, ranging from the history
of the Op Amp, to theoretical models, to practical circuits,
to things to consider in designing printed circuit boards.
Whether you're wanting to find out how to deal with exotic
Op Amp based circuits or just need to look up how to wire a
voltage-follower circuit, this is an excellent reference manual
Best of all, you can download the PDF version for free!
507 Mechanical Movements
by Henry T. Brown
This book was originally published in 1868, and then republished in 1896.
It is a really interesting book if you're interested in tinkering with mechanical stuff.
Despite the fact that it's nearly 150 years old, it is a resource well worth downloading
(especially since it's free).
It is made available by Google Book Search, and was scanned in as part of that project.