EE198/EE298: Hands-on Ham Radio

Wired telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Radio operates exactly the same way, the only difference is that there is no cat.’
(Said to have been quoted by A. Einstein,… but probably not)

Spring, 2017

Take a look at a high-altutde balloon launch that used the Amateur radio Packet Reporting System to transmit its location and telemetry!

Course Description

This class aims to prepare students for the technician class amateur radio licensing exam, with emphasis on demonstrating what you could do once you get the license. This class welcomes ANYONE interested in studying for the test and taking it.

Prerequisites: None!


  • Q: I'm a ______ major. Is this class for me? A: Yes!

  • Q: How many units should I take? A: 1 unit for attending the 7 lectures, completing the assignments, and taking the test.

  • Q: I'm a graduate student, can I take the class? A: Absolutely! but please register to EE298

  • Q: Can I audit the class? A: Of Course!

Intructor of record


Class Time and Location

  • Weekly lectures, from January 18 through March 8

  • Wednesdays 6:30pm-8:30pm Cory 521

Licensing Exam

  • March 15 starting 7:00pm, Wozniac Launge (NOTE SPECIAL LOCATION!)


Technician Ham Radio License Manual $25 Amazon

Ham Radio

From ARRL: “Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) is a popular hobby and service in which licensed Amateur Radio operators (hams) operate communications equipment. Although Amateur Radio operators get involved for many reasons, they all have in common a basic knowledge of radio technology and operating principles, and pass an examination for the FCC license to operate on radio frequencies known as the ”Amateur Bands.". These bands are radio frequencies reserved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for use by ham radio operators.

“The role of amateur radio has obviously changed with the presence of the internet. Remarkably, amateur radio today offers unique opportunities and capabilities due to its independence on commercial infrastructure. For example, it is a legal ground for hands-on experimenting with wireless communication technology and it allows communication in emergencies and from remote areas.”

What can you do as a ham?

  • Talk to people (near and far)

  • Build stuff (amps, sdr’s, antennas, receivers)

  • Emergency communications (emcom)

  • First person view (FPV) vehicles (drones) at much higher power

  • Hit satellites, moon, meteors, airplanes (with radio waves! … not something else)

  • Digital communication with Automatic Positioning and Reporting System, packet radio

  • Use Repeaters covering bay-area, California and the United States, mesh networks

Class Schedule

Week Date Topics Reading
1 Jan 18 Seminar: Radio and Signal Fundamentals
Hands-on: Modulation, SDR
Chapters 1 & 2
2 Jan 25 Seminar: Electricity, Components and Circuits
Hands-on: FLDIGI, Digital Modes
Chapter 3
3 Feb 1 Seminar: Propagation, Antennas, and Feed Lines
Hands-on: Fun with Antennas
Chapter 4
4 Feb 8 Seminar: Amateur Radio Equipment
Hands-on: The Art of Morse Code
Chapter 5
5 Feb 15 Seminar: Communication with Other Hams
Hands-on: Communication Nets
Chapter 6
6 Feb 22 Seminar: Licensing and Operating Regulations
Hands-on: Field Day
Chapters 7 & 8
7 Mar 1 Seminar: Safety
Hands-on: Practice Licensing Exam
Chapter 9
8 Mar 8 Review Session
9 Mar 15 Licensing Exam Session
7:00 pm Wozniak Lounge (430-438 Soda Hall)
10 Mar 22 No class
7:30 pm Cal Net
11 Mar 29 Spring Break
12 Apr 5 No class
7:30 pm Cal Net
13 Apr 12 No class
7:30 pm Cal Net
14 Apr 19 No class
7:30 pm Cal Net
15 Apr 26 No class
7:30 pm Cal Net
16 May 3 RRR Week
Return Radios


This course is a 1-credit class graded pass/no-pass. A 70% score is required to pass. This means that you may choose the hands-on assignments that you would prefer to finish the course, but you must pass the Technician licensing exam to pass the course.

  • (50%) Receiving Technician License

  • (20%) Radio Log, due April 26

  • (10%) Office Hour QSO, due April 26

  • (10%) Cal Net Check-in, due April 26

  • (10%) Reflection, due April 26

Office Hour QSO

In ham radio, two-way conversations are known as QSOs. As one of your hands-on assignments, you may stop by the club station to carry out a QSO on the air, even before you are licensed! If you would like to do this, send the instructor an email to schedule an appointment in advance. The last possible day to do this is April 26.

Radio Log

You will keep a radio log throughout the semester, due on April 26. You will record 15 transmissions on each of the two main HF bands: 20m and 40m. Each log entry will consist of the following information (after this example):

Date Time MHz Callsign Mode TX QTH RX QTH Comments
Jul 14 8:20pm 7.235 NU6XB LSB Berkeley, CA San Mateo, CA Go Bears!

Cal Net Check-in

In ham radio parlance, a net is a scheduled on-air meeting of amateur radio operators. Once everybody gets their licenses, we will loan out radios and we will hold a weekly net at 7:30 pm. If you check into one of these nets, you will complete the assignment. The last net will be on April 26.


The final paper is a written reflection, 300-500 words, that describes your experience with amateur radio through the course, due on April 26. Feel free to write anything you like. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • What do you think of amateur radio having finished the course? What did you think of it before?

  • What do you think you will do with your license?

  • What was your favorite hands-on demo in the class?

  • Did you encounter anything interesting while working on your Radio Log?