Amateur Radio Quiz: Ham Horizons


By H. Ward Silver, N0AX

Part 97.1 points out five bases and purposes of the Amateur Radio Service. The third principle -- encouragement and improvement of the Amateur Service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communication and technical phases of the art -- has been a hallmark of the Amateur Radio Service from the beginning. This quiz lists a few of those pioneers and their achievements -- feathers in every ham’s hat.

1) What amateur-invented AM mode is often heard around 14.230 MHz?
a. Fast-scan TV
b. Wide-band FM
c. Slow-scan TV
d. Working split

2) Amateurs are credited with the first documented observations of which unusual phenomenon?
a. Whistlers
b. Growlers
c. Long-delayed echoes
d. Sprites and jets

3) Who was the first ham to transmit from space via Amateur Radio?
a. Dave Garroway
b. Owen Garriott
c. Gary Owens
d. Garrett Phillips

4) What type of preamplifier, invented by hams, does not include a transistor, tube or other active amplifying device?
a. parametric
b. supercooled
c. negative-feedback
d. servo

5) Relegated to these in the early days of radio, hams found them to be prime radio real estate.
a. Very Low Frequencies
b. Sub-bands
c. Quiet zones
d. Short waves

6) VHF enthusiasts discovered and documented what unusual propagation mode?
a. Transequatorial skip
b. D-layer absorption
c. Tropospheric propagation
d. Continuous wave

7) Grote Reber (ex-W9GFZ) pioneered what scientific discipline?
a. Kirilian photography
b. Telekinesis
c. Radio astronomy
d. Quantum mechanics

8) What communication mode pioneered by amateurs has been revolutionized by a Nobel laureate ham’s software?
a. Semaphore
b. Long-path
c. Chordal hops
d. Moonbounce

9) Hams created what worldwide network to distribute e-mail via Amateur Radio?
b. FEC

10) Bob Dennison, W0DX, led the “Gone Waki” team in the first example of what popular activity?
a. Field Day
b. Transatlantic DX QSOs
d. DXpeditions

Bonus Question: Which amateur-invented protocol lies at the heart of many commercial location tracking systems?


1. c -- Invented by Copthorne Macdonald, VE1BFL, in the early 1960s, SSTV is even incorporated in some handheld VHF radios.
2. c -- LDEs are spooky phenomena that are not completely understood, even today.
3. b -- W5LFL transmitted from the space shuttle in 1983.
4. a -- Parametric amplifiers use the nonlinearity of diode junctions to amplify signals.
5. d -- The infamous “200 meters and down” region was supposed to be an exile for amateurs. but it turned out to be quite the opposite!
6. a -- TE was not considered possible at VHF until amateurs found it.
7. c -- Grote combined a love of astronomy and Amateur Radio, creating an entirely new way of “skywatching.”
8. d -- Joe Taylor, K1JT, wrote the WSJT software that has brought EME (Earth-Moon-Earth. within reach of amateurs with modest stations.
9. c -- The Winlink system uses a network of “mailbox” stations linked to servers via the Internet to provide e-mail service to traveling hams and for disaster response communications.
10. d -- Bob’s 1948 “Gon-Waki” operation as VP7NG (Bahamas) was the first modern DXpedition.

Bonus Answer: The Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) was invented by Bob Bruninga, WB4APR.