Shared Resources for Instruction and Study Guides
Links below will take you to instructional resources developed by radio amateurs that are being shared with the amateur radio community for use by others engaged in instruction and mentoring.
Note: When looking for shared materials to support instruction for the Technician exam, be sure to note whether the materials have been updated to reference the new pool of questions for the General exam effective July 1, 2015.
- N8KBR’s Amateur Radio License Study Guides and Instruction Resources
- Licensing instruction for Public Safety Professionals from KC0BS and KC4WCG of Johnson County, KS ARES. Also a study guide for upgrading to General and a Guide for New Hams from K4OCD.
- AD7FO’s Study Guides, click on "Training Links" for Technician, General and Extra license preparation and instruction.
- KB6NU’s Self Study Guides for the Technician and General exams. The Technician guide is free, the General is available at a modest cost. Useful for instruction with youth and small groups.
- NC4FB has developed a variety of resources to assist instruction and self-study. These include flash cards for exam prep sessions, group discussions with remote instructor support features that students can join to discuss difficult questions and receive help from their instructor, and a question look-up feature to locate particular questions in the exam pools using text search. Benson also offers a "kid friendly" license self-study license program that is designed to be guided by a mentor as well as aids for mentors who are working with visually impaired students. Benson offers a MS Windows-based Exam Prep Support System (EPSS) designed to provide instructors with the capability to display flashcards, topic/subelement tests, and sample exams using a video projector or large screen A/V system. The system supports the NCVEC syllabuses (topics/subelements) for the Technician, General, and Extra exams and also provides a special capability that enables instructors to import their own collections of questions. This capability allows instructors who are using their own instructional material to display flashcards and test candidates with questions related to the material.
- PowerPoints of Technician and General exam questions in question pool order for review from MicroHams. Home study sheets for students are provided.
- Instructional materials for the Technician and General Class licenses including video clips demonstrating frequency and amplitude modulation from HamElmer.com.
- Andy Vallenga, KE4GKP offers Technician and General audio courses online at The Ham Whisperer. He also offers a Morse code training course.
- Rick Crockett, W0PC and the instructor team of the St. Charles Amateur Radio Club have shared their Amateur Extra license course PowerPoints. Their syllabus follows the presentation of topics in ARRL's Extra Class License Manual, 10th edition. Download their materials in PDF format, or in PPT format.
- Dick Harmon, WA4USB shares materials used for license instruction with BSA Venture Crew members: Instructor guide, class powerpoint,
Resources for Specific Topics
These resources may be helpful aides for your instruction of specific topcs addressed by the Amateur Radio license exams.
Gain and Decibels
Excerpt about "Decibels" from ARRL's Understanding Basic Electronics, by Walter Banzhaf, WB1ANE
A Tutorial on the Decibel complied by Ward Silver, N0AX.
Decibel by Dick Harmon, W4USB
Frequency and Wavelength
Animated tutorials on waves illustrates the relationship between frequency and wavelength.
The Wikipedia’s entry on Waves has many links to all aspects of waves: frequency, phase, wavelength, etc. Links to tutorials and simulations are provided at the end (bottom) of the entry. You will find a great deal of information about the electromagnetic and radio spectrum in the Wikipedia, as well.
A comprehensive review of analog and digital modulation methods is offered on Wikipedia.
Math Review & Scientific Notation
You can direct your students to these tutorials for review of math concepts needed for amateur radio license exam preparation.
Digital Modes: Audio Files
Download these files to your laptop to play for students to introduce them to the many digital modes radio amateurs employ (all files presented below are in wav format except as noted).
If you have Internet access in your classroom you'll find a large collection of digital mode samples on this site: http://www.kb9ukd.com/digital/.
Resonance of Series and Parallel Circuits
Instructional tools developed by Steve Auyer, N2TKX to model how the values of the circuit components affect not only the resonant frequency but also the shape of the impedance-vs.-frequency curves and the Q of the circuit.
Also included, a resource to demonstrate far field patterns produced by two point sources affected by the separation, amplitude and phasing of the point sources. This resource allows students to investigate how the three variables affected the patterns by inputting values for separation, amplitudeand phase to immediately see the effect on the patterns. It also illustrates the difference between linear and logarithmic pattern plots.
Here are some demonstrations illustrating concepts in radio science that have proven helpful in license instruction.
How Radio Signals Travel
This is a simple but very effective Demonstration of Lenz’s Law and accompanying Power Point by Mark Spencer WA8SME that you can bring into the classroom to show the most basic principle of radio science--how radio waves travel and the role of electromagnetic fields.
Here are some effective online video demonstrations of the same principle:
- MIT Physics Demo -Lenz's Law with a Copper Pipe
- SparkFun Electronics - Shawn Hymel Explains Electromagnetism and Magnets
Using the Wave Modulation Board was developed by Mark Spencer WA8SME for ARRL's Education & Technology Program in combination with the Parallax USB Oscilloscope® you can provide a powerful demonstration of signal modulation for your students. The instructional board and can be purchased from the ARRL Store. The Parallax USB Oscilloscope® is no longer available and has been replaced by the Propscope®, which can be purchased directly from Parallax. Build the board yourself with instructions provided on the ETP Resource page.
Building Blocks of Radio
Using the 5 Building Blocks of Radio Board ( also developed for the ARRL ETP) in combination with the Parallax USB Oscilloscope you can provide a powerful demonstration of basic electronics components including the oscillator, rectifier, amplifier, mixer and filter, and how they work together in a radio.
Contact ARRL Education Services at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to inquire about obtaining a copy of the board, offered at ETP cost, or build the board yourself with instructions provided on the ETP Resource page. The Parallax USB Oscilloscope® is no longer available and has been replaced by the Propscope®, which can be purchased directly from Parallax.
Directivity of a Yagi Antenna
Diana Eng, KC2UHB is a young radio amateur who is sharing her exploration of amateur radio through video demonstrations that she posts online. Here’s her demonstration of Directivity with a Yagi Antenna:
She also demonstrates the Radiation Pattern of a Dipole and a Yagi Antenna.
Instructional Resources from ARRL's Education & Technology Program
Resources including instructional kits and lesson plans developed for ARRL’s Education & Technology Program, ARRL's outreach program to bring ham radio into the classroom, are also available to licensing instructors.
The following instructional kits are availabe in the ARRL store. The instructor discount applies to purchases of these kits.
A Wave Modulation Demonstration Board also developed by Mark Spencer used in combination with an projection capable oscilloscope is very useful for demonstrating some of the foundational concepts in radio. For more information, click here. To purchase, click here.
Taking a few moments at the end of a course to get feedback from your students is the best way to learn what is working and what is not in your instruction. Doing regular evaluations helps set you on a course for continuous improvement.
We've provided a sample evaluation form that you might use to get feedback from your students about their experience in your course. Please feel free to modify it for your situation.
Instructing Disabled Students
- Fred Benson, NC4FB offers study aids for the visually impaired, incluyding mp3 audio files of the FCC AmateurRadio license question pools for all three levels of license exams. He also offers tips for instructing visually impaired and dyslexic and ADHD candidates.
- Read the section in Peter Kemp's Teachers's Guide for helpful advice on working with students with special needs fouund on www.arrl.org/instruction-getting-organized.
- Also, the audio explanations of the FCC question pools for the Technician and General exams that accompany the videos offered by Andy Vallenga, KE4GKP, "the Ham Whisperer," may be helpful.
- Visually impaired students who have computer screen readers can take advantage of online study materials, including online exam practice applications.
- Visit the Courage Kenny Handiham Program website for training and networking information for disabled hams. Read this article, "The Handiham Program: Ham Radio Learning for Peoiple with Disabilities," by HandiHam Program Manager, Pat Tice, WA0TDA.
- "Enabling Ham Radio's Disabled", by Mike Runholt, KC0YFV tells how Handiham provides assistance to the community of disabled hams.
- These QST articles will provide information about techniques and adaptations to make ham radio accessible for the sight impaired and those with other disabilities.
Teaching Tips, Strategies and FAQs
from Jamie King, KJ4KJ
Pamlico Amateur Radio Society, Oriental, NC
You asked for some hints to use in classes. Here's one that we "stole" from the world of "hard" science (e.g. chemistry and physics and engineering).
We have had lots of problem over the past several years with the mathematical segment of the tech classes. Students are unprepared to even start to figure how many millithings there are in a megathing. We have developed a solution which seems to work in most cases, and we'll share it with you.
It is called "dimensional analysis" in the serious math books. You simply start with the given problem, for instance "which frequency is in the 2-meter band? (a) 52.0 MHz (b) 146430.0 KHz (c) 2.4 GHz (d) 28.430 Hz"
The students have memorized, of course, that the 2-meter band includes frequencies in the 144-147 MHz range. However, none of these appear in the answers. They panic.
OK, start with what you know. Take answer (a) first. It is in MHz, so that's OK, but it isn't in the range 144-147, so it's out. Take answer (b). 146430.0 KHz. Let's make that into MHz so it can be compared with our knowledge base.
Expressed mathematically, the equation is 146430.0 KHz x 1 MHz/1000KHz. Always multiply. Arrange the terms so that the desired one is on top. Cancel the KHz units just as if they were numbers (that's the magical clue). Read the result. Works every time!
That's dimensional analysis, and it works for any conversion you can imagine; currency, electrical units, frequencies, even chemical measures such as "mols" that give high school student the willies. Our PARS (Pamlico ARS) instructors have used it for several years with great success.
BTW, our last three years of classes have had a 100% pass rate.