ARRL

Instruction: Teaching and Study Aids

Shared Resources 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 Technician exam effective July 1, 2014.

  • 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 for Technician, General and Extra license preparation and instruction
  • KB6NU’s Self Study Guides for the Technician and General exams. Also 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.

 

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.

 

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.

Modulation

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, amplitude
and phase to immediately see the effect on the patterns. It also illustrates the difference between linear and logarithmic pattern plots.

Effective Demonstrations

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 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’s an online video demonstration of the same principle.

Wave Modulation

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 ead@arrl.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.

Look for her instructional videos on Setting Up an HF Radio Station While Hiking and Making a Satellite Contact.

 

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 Basic Electronics Course and Kit developed by Mark Spencer, WA8SME, is available to use for individual study or group instruction. You can download the course or purchase the already assembled kit.

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.

Review other ETP resources.

 

Evaluation

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.

Sample Evaluation Form

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 ADD candidates.
  • Read the section in Pete 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.
  • Visit the Courage Kenny Handiham Program website for training and networking information for disabled hams. 
  • "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.