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HAM Radio Technician Class

Licensing Course
Chapter 2

Radio and Electronics Fundamentals

Angee Baune AC0EW

Don Baune AC0EX
Equipment Definitions
 A Transmitter is used to convert sounds from our voice into
radio signals.

 A Receiver is used to convert radio signals into sounds we can


 A Transceiver is a Receiver, Transmitter and a (TR)

transmit/receive switch combined into one unit.

 A Power Supply is the device used to convert the alternating

current from a wall outlet into low-voltage direct current.

 An Amplifier is used to increase the output of a radio (for

example it can take a 10 watt radio and increase the output to100
Equipment Definitions
 A Lithium-ion battery offers the longest life when used with a
hand-held radio, when comparing battery types of the same
physical size.

 The best way to get the most amount of energy from a battery is
to draw current from the battery at the slowest rate needed.

 The microphone connects to the transmitter in a basic amateur

radio station

 A speaker converts electrical signals to sound waves, if you are

in a noisy area or have a signal that is difficult to copy you could
us a set of headphones
The basic radio station
Power Supply
 Most modern radios operate on 12 volts direct current
 A power supply converts household current to the
type of current and the correct voltage to operate
your station
 Could be internal, might be external

 You are probably familiar with common “wall-wart”

power supplies
Basic Station Accessories

 Human interface  Station performance

accessories accessories
 Microphones  Antenna tuner
 SWR meter (antenna match
 Speakers
 Earphones  Amplifier
 Computer  Antenna rotor (turning antenna)
 Morse code key  Filters
 TV camera  Etc.
 Etc.
Accessory Equipment
Special stations you will use
 Repeaters are automated stations located at high
places that receive and then retransmit your
signal - simultaneously
 Dramatically improves range
 The basic components of a repeater are the
same as your station: receiver, transmitter,
antenna, and power supply
 But, repeaters are transmitting and receiving at
the same time using the same antenna
 This requires a very high quality and specialized
filter to prevent the transmitted signal from
over-powering the receiver
 This specialized filter is called a duplexer
A repeater is a device used to retransmit amateur radio
signals, it can extend the range of communications.

60 miles
Basic Electricity
Radio and Electronics Fundamentals
Fundamentals of Electricity

 When dealing with electricity what we are

referring to is the flow of electrons through a
 Electrons are negatively charged atomic particles
 The opposite charge is the positive charge
 A conductor is a material that allows electrons to
move with relative freedom within the material
Fundamentals of Electricity

 In electronics and radio, we control the flow of

electrons to make things happen
 You need to have a basic understanding of how
and why we control the flow of electrons so that
you can better operate your radio
Basic Characteristics of
 There are three characteristics to electricity
 Voltage
 Current

 Resistance

 All three must be present for electrons to flow

Voltage & Current
 Current (I) is the flow of electrons in an electric circuit.
Current can be compared to the flow of water in a pipe.
The basic unit of current is the ampere.
Current can be measured using an ammeter.

 Electromotive Force or Voltage (E) is the force that

pushes the electrons thru the circuit.
Voltage can be compared to pressure that pushes water
thru a pipe.
The basic unit of voltage is the volt.
Voltage is measured using a voltmeter.
Voltage and Current?

- A

It is possible to have voltage without current, as in

the case of a battery by itself. In order to have
current, there must be an electrical path (circuit) from
the positive to the negative terminal of the voltage
Basic Components of Electricity
 The flow of water through a hose is a good
analogy to understand the three components of
electricity and how they are related
Resistance opposes the flow of
electrons in a material.

Resistance limits the current that can

flow thru a circuit.

Resistance can be compared to a

restriction in a water pipe.

The ohm is the basic unit of

Materials that allow the flow of
electrons are called conductors.
Some good conductors are:
 Gold

 Silver

 Aluminum

 Copper

 Most metals
Materials that block the flow of electrons are called
insulators. Some good insulators are:

 Glass
 Rubber

 Air

 Most non-metals

 Dry wood
 Paper
 Most Plastics
Ohms Law

Electromotive Force, VOLTS

Mr. Georg Ohm
Mathematician & physicist
b. 1789 d. 1854 - Bavaria,

The flow of Resistance
Electrons (current) to current flow
Ohm’s Law
 E is voltage
 Units-volts
 I is current
 Units-ampere
 R is resistance
 Units-ohms

 R=E/I
 I=E/R
 E=I x R
Ohms Law
 Ohms Law is a formula that shows the relationship
between Voltage (E), Current (I), and Resistance (R).

(Eagle flew over the Indian Reservation)

 Ohms Law is applicable to all electrical circuits.

Ohms Law Exercise

200 volts
100 ohms
_ A

What is the current through the

I = E / R = 200 / 100 = 2 amperes
Ohms Law Exercise

?? volts 2 amperes 50 ohms
_ A

What is the voltage across the

E = I x R = 2 x 50 = 100 volts
Ohms Law Exercise
90 volts 3 amperes ?? ohms
_ A

What is the value of the

resistance in the circuit?
R = E / I = 90 / 3 = 30 ohms
Moving Electrons Doing Something
 Anytime energy is expended to do something -
work is performed
 When moving electrons do some work, power is
 Power is measured in the units of Watts
 Light Bulbs
 Toasters

 Blow Dryers

Power, Watts

The flow of Electromotive
Electrons (current) Force
Power Formula
 Power is defined as the amount of current that is
being pushed through a conductor or device to
do work

 P=E x I
 E=P/I
 I=P/E
It’s not the rock band from the 70’s
Two Basic Kinds of Current
 When current flows in only one direction, it is
called Direct Current (DC)
 Batteries are a common source of DC
 Most electronic devices are powered by DC

 When current flows alternatively in one

direction then in the opposite direction, it is
called Alternating Current (AC)
 Your household current is AC
Alternating Current



Alternating & Direct Current


Open & Short Circuits

+ -
Normal Circuit

Open Circuit + -
Draws no current

Short Circuit + -
Draws high current
Series and Parallel Circuits

Series Circuit – current

passes through one device
and then another.
Christmas lights, one goes
out they all go out.

Parallel Circuit - current

passes through both
devices at the same time.
Christmas lights, one goes
out the rest stay lit.
Series Circuit
 Series circuits provide one and only one path for
current flow
Parallel Circuits
 Parallel circuits provide alternative paths for
current flow
Dealing with Very Big and Very
Small Numeric Values

 In electronics we deal with incredibly large and

incredibly small numbers
 The international metric system allows for short
hand dealing with the range of values
System of Metric Units

giga G 109 1,000,000,000

mega M 106 1,000,000
kilo K 103 1,000
basic unit 100 1
milli m 10-3 0.001
micro u 10-6 0.000001
pico p 10-12 0.000000000001
Unit Conversion Practice
1 kilohertz = ??? hertz
1000 hertz
3.525 MHz = ???? kHz

1,000,000 picofarads = ?1microfarads


500 milliwatts = ?0.5

3000 milliamperes = ?3amperes
HAM Radio Technician Class
Licensing Course
Chapter 2
Part 2
Radio and Electronics Fundamentals
Bill Thomas WA0BND
Angee Baune AC0EW
Don Baune AC0EX
Welcome Back
 How is it going
 Have you opened the book and started reading
 Have you been on QRZ.COM

 Questions from Last week

E = IR
news.bbc.co.uk — The largest superconducting magnet ever built, in
the Atlas detector at the Cern lab, has been powered up succesfully.
Engineers sent a current of 21,000 Amps round the coils.
Atlas will analyse collisions in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC),
which will recreate conditions just after the Big Bang.

The LHC will consume some

120 megawatts and is
predicted to run for between
15 years and 20 years. It will
be rested for three months in
winter because the French
power station that supplies it
is needed for the domestic
More News from October 2008
Popular Science
Manure Daily Methane Poop
Maker Output Yield Power
Elephant 200 lbs 230 30
feet3/day kilowatts
Cow 120 95 16
*The average U.S. household
Llama 16 18 3 consumes 30 kilowatts a day.
Pig 2.5 3 0.5 Guess for you should either
have one elephant, two cows,
Dog 0.75 1 0.2
or three Llamas to power your
Chicken 0.2 0.3 0.05 house
Review - Ohms Law

Electromotive Force, VOLTS

The flow of Resistance
electrons to current flow
The Resistor
 The function of the  Circuit Symbol
resistor is to restrict
(limit) the flow of
current through it
The Capacitor
 The function of the  Circuit Symbol
capacitor is to
temporarily store electric
 Like a very temporary
storage battery
 Store energy in an
electrostatic field
The Inductor
 The function of the  Circuit Symbol
inductor is to temporarily
store electric current
 Is basically a coil of wire
 Stores energy in a
magnetic field
The Transistor
 The function of the  Circuit Symbol
transistor is to variably
control the flow of
 Much like an
electronically controlled
 An analogy, the faucet in
your sinks
The Integrated Circuit
 The Integrated circuit is  Circuit Symbol
a collection of
components contained in
one device that
accomplishes a specific
 Acts like a “black-box”
Protective Components – Intentional
Open Circuits
 Fuse and circuit breakers  Circuit Symbol
are designed to interrupt
the flow of current if the
current becomes
 Fuses blow – one time
 Circuit breaker trip – can
be reset and reused
Other Circuit Symbols
Putting it all together in a circuit

Adding a diode allows current to flow in only one direction.

Diode V+
Resistor 0

The diode changes the alternating current into varying direct

current. This circuit is called a rectifier.
Decibel (dB)
The decibel is a comparison of power levels.
It is defined as:
10 x log (P2/P1)
For example: P1 = 5 w and P2 = 10 w
P2 / P1 = 10 / 5 = 2
log 2 = 0.3
10 x 0.3 = 3 dB

Just remember – Every 3 dB increase is the same

as doubling the power and every 3 dB decrease is
the same as halving the power.
Radio and Electronics Fundamentals

Signals and Waves

Radio Waves are AC
 You have already learned that in an alternating
current (AC) the electrons flow in one direction
one moment and then the opposite direction the
next moment
 Radio waves (electromagnetic radiation) are AC
 Radio waves are used to carry the information
you want to convey to someone else
Is a measure of the number of
times (cycles) per second that an
alternating current flows back
and forth.

The basic or standard unit of

frequency is the Hertz.

60 hertz (Hz) means 60 cycles

per second.

1 Second
More Frequency !
A radio frequency (RF) wave is an electromagnetic
oscillation or cycle that repeats more than 20,000 times per
second. RF waves travel at the speed of light.

Sound waves between 300 & 3,000 Hz are called voice


An audio-frequency signal is an electromagnetic oscillation

or cycle that repeats between 20 and 20,000 times per



 The distance a radio

wave travels during
one cycle
 One complete change
between magnetic and
electric fields
The Relationship of Frequency and
The distance a radio wave travels in one cycle is called wavelength.

V+ One Cycle


One Wavelength
Frequency & Wavelength

The distance an
AC signal travels
in one complete
cycle is its

As the frequency
increases the
wavelength gets
Finding where you are on the radio

 There are two ways to tell someone where to

meet you on the radio dial (spectrum)
 Band
 Frequency
Radio Frequency (RF) Spectrum
 The RF Spectrum is the range of wave
frequencies which will leave an antenna and
travel through space
 The RF Spectrum is divided into segments of
frequencies that basically have unique behavior
Radio Frequency (RF) Spectrum
So, Where am I?
 Back to how to tell where you are in the
 Bands identify the segment of the spectrum
where you will operate
 Wavelength is used to identify the band
 Frequencies identify specifically where you are
within the band
Wavelength Formula
To convert from frequency to wavelength:

Wavelength (m) =
freq (MHz)
Wavelength and Frequency are Inversely Proportional.
As one goes up, the other must go down.


Wavelength m freq Freq in MHz

Another use for frequency and
 For the station antenna to efficiently send the radio
wave out into space, the antenna must be designed for
the specific operating frequency
 The antenna length needs to closely match the wavelength of
the frequency to be used
 Any mismatch between antenna length and frequency
wavelength will result in radio frequency energy being
reflected back to the transmitter, not going (being emitted)
into space

SSB Signal 2 - 3 kHz wide

FM Signal 5 - 20 kHz wide
UHF Fast-Scan TV ~ 6 MHz
Radio Communications

 The basic principle of radio communications is

combining a radio wave with an information signal and
transmitting it. A receiver separates the two.

 Combining an information signal with a radio signal is

called “Modulation”.
Analog Signals

Analog signals have voltage or

current values that vary
continuously over some range.

Amplitude Modulation (AM) and

Frequency Modulation (FM) are AM
examples of Analog modes.

FCC Emission Types
 CW
 Phone
 AM (Amplitude Modulation)
 SSB (Single-sideband Modulation)

 FM (Frequency Modulation)

 Data
 PSK31

 Other telemetry, telecommand, or computer communications
Phone Emissions
 The FCC calls all types of voice emissions “Phone”.

 Frequency modulated (FM) phone is most often used

on VHF & UHF repeaters.

 Upper sideband (USB) phone is

commonly used on the 10-meter
phone band.

 Upper sideband phone is normally

used for VHF & UHF SSB
Data Emissions
 The FCC calls telemetry, telecommand, or computer
communications “Data” emissions.

 Some common data emissions are packet, PSK31, and radio

teletype (RTTY).

 When using packet the term “connected” means sending data

to only one receiving station and it replies the data is being
received correctly.

 PSK31 has a typical bandwidth of 31 Hz.

 A Technician licensee is permitted to operate point-to-point

digital message forwarding in the 219 – 220 MHz frequency
The Antenna System
 Antenna: Facilitates the sending of your signal
to some distant station
 Back to the falling magnet
 Feed line: Connects your station to the antenna
 Test and matching equipment: Allows you to
monitor antenna performance
The Antenna (some vocabulary)
 Driven element: where the transmitted energy
enters the antenna
 Polarization: the direction of the electric field
relative to the surface of the earth
 Same as the physical direction
 Vertical
 Horizontal

 Circular
The Antenna (some vocabulary)
 Omni-directional - radiates in all directions
 Directional beam - focuses radiation in specific
 Gain – apparent increase in power in a particular
direction because energy is focused in that
 Measured in decibels (dB)
Antenna Radiation Patterns
 Radiation patterns are a
way of visualizing
antenna performance
 The further the line is
away from the center of
the graph, the stronger
the signal at that point
Feed line types
 The purpose of the feed line is to get energy
from your station to the antenna
 Basic feed line types
 Coax cable
 Open-wire or ladder line

 Each has a characteristic impedance, each has its

unique application
 Most common feed line
 Easy to use
 Matches impedance of
modern radio equipment
(50 Ohms)
 Some loss of signal
depending on coax
quality (cost)
Open-wire/Ladder Line
 Not common now days
except in special applications
 Difficult to use
 Need an antenna tuner to
make impedance match – but
this allows a lot of flexibility
 Theoretically as very low loss
Test and Matching Equipment
 Proper impedance matching is important
enough to deserve some simple test equipment
as you develop your station repertoire
 Basic Test Equipment: S.W.R. Meter
 Matching Equipment: Antenna Tuner
Standing Wave Ratio (SWR)
 If the antenna and feed line impedances are
not perfectly matched, some RF energy is not
radiated into space and is returned (reflected)
back to the source
 Something has to happen to this reflected energy
– generally converted into heat or unwanted
radio energy (bad)
 The ratio of energy going out to energy
coming back is called SWR
Concept of Standing Wave Ratio
If an antenna system matches the
characteristic impedance of the transmitter
all the power is radiated. Power travelling 1.5

from the transmitter to the antenna is called 0.5

Forward Power. 0
1 Volt
If an antenna system does not match the -1

characteristic impedance of the transmitter, -1.5

Distance Along Line
some of the power is reflected back to the 1.5

transmitter. This is called Reflected Power. 0.5


At any point along the transmission line, -0.5
0.5 Volt
the Forward Power and Reflected Power -1

will add or subtract. Distance Along Line


The Ratio of the Maximum Voltage to 1

Minimum Voltage along the line is called
Voltage 0.5

Standing Wave Ratio (SWR). -0.5


Distance Along Line
SWR Meter
• The SWR meter is inserted in the feed line and
indicates the mismatch that exists at that point.
• You make adjustments to the antenna to minimize
the reflected energy (minimum SWR).
Nothing is Perfect
• Although the goal is to get 100% of your radio
energy radiated into space, that is virtually
• What is an acceptable level of loss (reflected power
or SWR?)
– 1:1 is perfect.
– 2:1 should be the max you should accept (as a general rule).
• Modern radios will start lowering transmitter output power
automatically when SWR is above 2:1.
– 3:1 is when you need to do something to reduce SWR.
Antenna Tuner
• One way to make antenna matching
adjustments is to use an antenna tuner.
• Antenna tuners are impedance transformers
(they actually do not tune the antenna).
– When used appropriately they are effective.
– When used inappropriately all they do is make a
bad antenna look good to the transmitter…the
antenna is still bad.
How to use an Antenna Tuner
• Monitor the SWR meter.
• Make adjustments on the tuner until
the minimum SWR is achieved.
– The impedance of the
antenna is transformed to
more closely match the
impedance of the
HF Propagation

It is the unpredictable nature of HF propagation

that makes the HF bands so much fun!
Atmospheric Layers

31 – 400 miles

6 – 31 miles

0 – 6 miles
Radio Wave Propagation
Getting from Point A to Point B
 Radio waves propagate by many
 The science of wave propagations has many
 We will discuss 3 basic ways:
 Lineof sight
 Ground wave

 Sky-wave
Line-of-Sight Propagation

Line of sight propagation is when radio signals travel in a

straight line from one antenna to another.

If a source of radio energy can been seen by the receiver, then the
radio energy will travel in a straight line from transmitter to receiver

There is some attenuation of the signal as the radio wave travels

This is the primary propagation mode for VHF and UHF signals
Ground-Wave Propagation

Signals travel along the surface of the earth.

Some radio frequency ranges (lower HF frequencies) will hug the
earth’s surface as they travel
These waves will travel beyond the range of line-of-sight
A few hundred miles

 Signals are bent back to earth by the ionosphere

 Multi-hop propagation has radio signals bounce several times
between the ionosphere and the earth’s surface
 Sky-wave propagation range is much greater than ground-wave
 Sky-wave propagation least often occurs in the UHF frequency
How the Ionosphere is Formed

Ultraviolet and other Strikes atoms in the Releasing an electron

radiation from the upper atmosphere forming positive &
sun negative ions

(Negative Ion)
Electrically Neutral Positive Ion

Ultraviolet radiation is most responsible for ionization

in the outer atmosphere.
Regions in the Ionospheric
During the day....
The “D” Region is closest to Earth
The “D” Region absorbs MF/HF radio
The “F2” Region is most responsible
for long distance communication

At night....
The “D” & “E” Regions disappear
The “F1” & “F2” Regions combine into
one with reduced ionization
Critical & Maximum Usable

The frequency at which a signal

sent vertically will pass right
through the ionosphere is called
the critical frequency.

The frequency at which

communication just starts to fail is
known as the Maximum Usable
Frequency (MUF). It is generally
three to five times the critical
frequency, dependent upon the
layer being used and the angle of
Predicted Propagation for 10m on Dec 15, 2003

Ionization is at a
minimum just before
Ionization peaks at mid-
Notice the prediction of
multi-hop propagation.

 The more sunspots

there are, the greater the
atmosphere is ionized.
 Thus, higher sunspot
counts support a higher
Maximum Usable
Frequency (MUF).

Hams LOVE sunspots!

 The K7RA Solar Update
(Sep 29, 2006) –
 Average daily sunspot
numbers were down this week
by less than one point to 12.7

 The average daily solar flux

was down by five points from
the previous week to 72

 Geomagnetic indices were

down a bit as well

We are at the bottom of the 11year cycle

When and what
Solar Storm Warning
 March 10, 2006: It's official: Solar minimum has arrived.
Sunspots have all but vanished. Solar flares are nonexistent. The
sun is utterly quiet.

 Like the quiet before a storm.

 This week researchers announced that a storm is coming--the

most intense solar maximum in fifty years. The prediction comes
from a team at the National Center for Atmospheric Research
(NCAR). "The next sunspot cycle will be 30% to 50% stronger
than the previous one,".

 If correct, the years ahead could produce a burst of solar activity

second only to the historic Solar Max of 1958.
Sunspots peak during 11-year cycles.
VHF/UHF Propagation

VHF / UHF signals VHF / UHF signals

typically travel by can be blocked by
line of sight and/or reflected
propagation off mountains
and large
Tropospheric Ducting

Warm Air

Cool Air

Tropospheric ducting may occur when a warm air

mass overruns a cold air mass. This is called a
temperature inversion and can produce long range
VHF & UHF propagation.
Sporadic “E”
Small areas of the “E” Region can
become highly ionized

Allows long distance sky-wave

propagation on the VHF bands

Most likely to occur on the 6 meter

band in the summertime

By its name, it is “sporadic”