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Suggested Reading

If you don't know where to start, look at the SuggestedReadingOrder page for some hints.

Feel free to add items, but make sure they are:

  • Up to date
  • Easily available
  • Widely applicable

GNU Radio Specific

Software Radio in General

Math basics and complex numbers

Digital Signal Processing

  • Michael Ossman's online Videos on SDR/DSP:
  • "Practical Signal Processing" by Mark Owen
  • "Understanding Digital Signal Processing" by Richard Lyons. Great practical intro to DSP. ISBN 0201634678. 2nd ed (2004) ISBN 0131089897. 3rd ed (2010) ISBN 0137027419.
  • "Digital Signal Processing, A Practical Approach", Ifeachor and Jervis. Another good intro with a little more depth than Lyons. ISBN 020154413X.
  • "The Scientist and Engineer's Guide to Digital Signal Processing" by Stephen W. Smith Ph.D, available for free download at Also available in soft cover: ISBN 0-7506-7444-X.
  • "Discrete-Time Signal Processing" by Alan V. Oppenheim and Ronald W. Schafer. A standard and comprehensive textbook on DSP.
  • DSPLinks A great tool for learning DSP. Comes with lots of examples.
  • The comp.dsp FAQ is also good.
  • MIT "Digital Signal Processing" online course.
  • "Signal Processing for Communications" by Paolo Prandoni and Martin Vetterli. Available as both printed book and free download from
  • Think DSP by Allen Downey

Digital Comms

  • MIT 6.450 Principles of Digital Communications I. Full course available on OCW and Principles of Digital Communications Book ISBN 0521879078 by Professor Gallager .
  • "Digital Signal Processing in Communication Systems" by Marvin E. Frerking. Practical engineering focus. Lots of great examples. Frerking often provides mulitiple solutions for a given transmitter or receiver design problem. ISBN 0442016166.
  • "Digital Communications, Fundamentals and Applications, 2nd ed.", Sklar. Good coverage of all aspects digital comms. ISBN 0130847887.
  • "Digital and Analog Communication Systems" by Leon W. Couch II. Pretty good balance of theory and application. Covers many of the analog modulations that aren't covered in other comms books. ISBN 0135225833.
  • "Digital Communications, 3rd ed", by John Proakis. Popular textbook, but very detailed and not so good as intro material. ISBN 0070517266.
  • Fundamentals of Wireless Communication by David Tse and Pramod Viswanathan. Covers topics on wireless channel modeling in detail.
  • "Multirate Signal Processing for Communication Systems", by fredric j harris. ISBN 0131465112.
  • "Wireless Digital Communications: Design and Theory", by Tom McDermott, N5EG. Good high level overview of the basics of digital comms. Published by TAPR, available at ISBN 0-9644707-2-1.
  • "Communication System Design Using DSP Algorithms: With Laboratory Experiments for the TMS320C6701 and TMS320C6711", by Steven Tretter. Very good book on basics of modems and real-life implementation. Author is the man behind voice-band modem standards like V.34. ISBN 0306474298.
  • Communications Tutorials
  • "Telecommunication Breakdown - Concepts of Communication Transmitted via Software-Defined Radio" by C. Richard Johnson, Jr. and William A. Sethares. ISBN 0131430475. Also available as PDF from the author
  • "A Foundation in Digital Communication", by Amos Lapidoth. A very accessible book that covers all the basics of digital communication theory, without getting complicated and without being afraid of explaining the basic assumptions behind the formulas and methods that other books often fail to mention. Also available as PDF from the author
  • "Digital Communication, 3rd Edition", by John R. Barry, Edward A. Lee and David G. Messerschmitt.

Radio and RF Design

Introductions to theory, etc.

  • "The Science of Radio" by Paul J Nahin. Accessable intro to the the physics of radio, with specific treatment of the superhetrodyne receiver. It's also got some great history intermixed. 2nd edition: ISBN 0387951504. (First edition: ISBN 1563963477)
  • "The Electronics of Radio" by David B. Rutledge. Walks through the theory and operation of the NorCal 40A CW transceiver. Quite interesting. ISBN 0-521-64645-6.
  • "RF Circuit Design" by Chris Bowick. This compact book covers lots of what you really need to know for RF. It covers the mysterious Smith Chart, matching circuits, filter design, small signal amplifier design (LNA's) and RF power amps. ISBN 0-7506-9946-9.
  • "Experimental Methods in RF Design" by Wes Hayward, Rick Campbell, Bob Larkin. Good practical book from ARRL. The authors are experienced amateur radio homebrewers. Published by American Radio Relay League (ARRL). ISBN: 0-87259-879-9

Amateur Radio specific

  • "The ARRL Handbook." A kind of hodge-podge of stuff. If you already know what you're looking for, you might be able to find it here.


  • "The Art of Electronics" by Horowitz and Hill. Truly a classic. A great introduction to electronics that works to help you build an intuitive understanding of what's going on. Great techniques for "back of the envelope design", how to think about circuits, etc. If you're interested in electronics, this is a book to have! ISBN 0521370957. There's a student workbook too.
  • "Lessons In Electric Circuits",
  • (really basic, work in progress)

Books on OpAmp's:

  • "IC Op-Amp Cookbook" by Walter Jung. ISBN 0672224534
  • "Intuitive Operational Amplifiers" by Thomas Frederiksen. ISBN 0070219672
  • "Analog Electronics with Op Amps" by Peyton and Walsh. ISBN 052133604X


  • "C++ Primer" by Stanley Lippman, Josee LaJoie ISBN 0201824701
  • "The C++ Standard Library, a Tutorial and Reference", Nicolai M. Josuttis, ISBN 0-201-379260. Excellent coverage of the Standard Library. Very useful! I keep it near my desk.
  • C++ libraries. We use many of these libraries, though some of it falls into the category of "C++ Template Metaprogramming from Hell." They're about 25% of the way to what Lisp had 30 years ago.
  • "Effective C+, 2nd ed.", Scott Meyers. 50 ways to avoid blowing your foot off with C+. ISBN 0-201-02488-9.
  • "Large-Scale C++ Software Design", John Lakos. After you've got a pretty good grip on C++, this runs through some techniques for building big systems. We use a lot of them in GnuRadio. ISBN 0-201-63362-0.
  • Bruce Eckel's Thinking in C++



Amateur Radio Licensing

How to get a ham license in the US

  • "Now You're Talking!", ARRL. Read this, pass a 35 question multiple choice test, and you're legal to operate on the ham bands >= 50 MHz. No Morse code required. ISBN 0-87259-881-0.