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SolderSmoke is the story of a secret, after-hours life in electronics. Bill Meara started out as a normal kid, from a normal American town. But around the age of 12 he got interested in electronics, and he has never been the same. To make matters worse, when he got older he became a diplomat. His work has taken him to Panama, Honduras, El Salvador, the Spanish Basque Country, the Dominican Republic, the Azores islands of Portugal, London, and, most recently, Rome. In almost all of these places his addiction to electronics caused him to seek out like-minded radio fiends, to stay up late into the night working on strange projects, and to build embarrassingly large antennas above innocent foreign neighborhoods. SolderSmoke takes you into the basement workshops and electronics parts stores of these exotic foreign places, and lets you experience the life of an expatriate geek. If you are looking for restaurant or hotel recommendations, look elsewhere. But if you need to know where to get an RF choke re-wound in Santo Domingo, SolderSmoke is the book for you. SolderSmoke is no ordinary memoir. It is a technical memoir. Each chapter contains descriptions of Bills struggles to understand (really understand) radio-electronic theory. Why does P=IE? Do holes really flow through transistors? What is a radio wave? How does a frequency mixer produce sum and difference frequencies? If these are the kinds of questions that keep you up at night, this book is for you. Finally, SolderSmoke is about brotherhood. International, cross-border brotherhood. Through the SolderSmoke podcast we have discovered that all around the world, in countries as different as Sudan and Switzerland, there are geeks just like us, guys with essentially the same story, guys who got interested in radio and electronics as teenagers, and who have stuck with it ever since. Our technical addiction gives us something in common, something that transcends national differences. And our electronics gives us the means to communicate. United by a common interest in radio, and drawn closer together by means of the internet, we form an International Brotherhood of Electronic Wizards.
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