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Review: International Call Sign Handbook: Government/Military Edition

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The first thing I have to do is apologize to Larry Van Horn for how tardy this review is. It was promised months ago but for reasons you can see in the sticky post on the front page, I’ve been lacking the motivation and at times, the time. With a bit of free time this weekend, I’ve finally gotten around to putting fingers to keyboard. Hopefully Larry will excuse and forgive this inexcusable delay…


International Call Sign Handbook: Government/Military Edition
International Call Sign Handbook: Government/Military Edition by Larry Van Horn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The International Call Sign Handbook: Government/Military Edition is another excellent radio monitoring callsign resource from Larry Van Horn and Teak Publishing. It opens with an introduction to and overview of callsigns, including a warning that no callsign list is every truly complete because of the rapid changes that can take place. Following the introduction, Van Horn goes into US DOD callsigns, neatly divided into daily changing, service specific (subdivided alphabetically). Following the US DOD callsigns are US Government callsigns, divided by department/agency. Next up are sections on government/military related organizations and contractors. It continues with foreign military/government callsigns organized by country before moving onto Mode-S identifiers for aviation. The book concludes with a very useful resource guide including ship classifications and types, USN/USMC squadron abbreviations, and an abbreviation/acronym listing.

This book is a great resource for the VHF/UHF or HF monitoring hobbyist. One of the first concerns of the radio hobbyist will be accuracy, and for the callsigns I’m familiar with and hear regularly, the listings are accurate. They’re also well organized and since it’s in electronic format they’re easy to search with a Kindle or tablet. For that reason, it’s just as convenient for on the go travel or field use as it is in the shack. Because it’s offered as an e-book only, the cost is kept down at $6.99 instead of the $20-25 you’d probably see if offered as a print book. A further advantage of the e-book format is the opportunity for more frequent editions; something like a callsign listing would stay more accurate with frequent updates or editions. Overall, I’m very pleased with Van Horn’s International Call Sign Handbook and highly recommend it for the experienced or novice radio hobbyist.

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