The Bridge - Issue 2, 2019 - 18

Feature

GREAT IMPEDANCE MATCH FOR KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER:

Amateur Radio as Part of Electrical and
Computer Engineering Education
Dennis Derickson, Gamma Rho Chapter (AC0P)1,3 Chuck Bland, Epsilon Phi Chapter (NA6BR)1,3
Jack Gallegos (KK6YWG)1 Marcel Stieber, Epsilon Phi (AI6MS) 2,3

Abstract
The amateur radio community is well-known for its creativity and ingenuity in projects constructed
with a modest budget and basic laboratory equipment. The Electrical and Computer Engineering
(ECE) community is known for its innovation and world-changing impact. When these two
communities meet in the world of electrical and computer engineering education, great outcomes
await for faculty and students. This article talks about how a university makes these connections to
help student success. A starting point is to encourage students to take the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) amateur radio examination early on in their college education in order to get
exposure to advanced topics in ECE well in advance of when they take courses on the topic. A
second initiative is to encourage student creativity to design and implement their own projects, using
amateur radio, in formal and informal laboratory settings of the university curriculum. Finally, amateur
radio provides a rich set of topics for senior and graduate level project/thesis activity. This article will
provide examples of how these amateur radio/ECE interactions occur along with specific project
examples that demonstrate that amateur radio is still on the forefront of project innovation.

Introduction
A college education is designed to provide the
academic foundation necessary to learn and
develop proficiency in one's field of study. Handson learning through practical experiences shows
improved learning comprehension and retention.
Most universities have recognized this correlation
and have put a strong emphasis on practical learning
and teaching in both curricular and extracurricular
activities. At California Polytechnic State University
in San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly), this approach is
embedded in the curricula through the school motto
of "Learn by Doing."
Amateur radio is a great example of such a "Learn by
Doing" activity for electrical and computer engineers.
Over 262 college- and university-based amateur

radio clubs exist in the United States alone, with an
additional 70 worldwide [1,2]. These clubs provide a
place for mentoring, group projects, and exposure to
the technical and non-technical aspects of amateur
radio both inside and outside the classroom.
It is very easy for students to get their amateur radio
license in conjunction with their ECE curriculum.
It can be as simple as a homework assignment,
Internet-based self-study, or a focused time for
intense study to pass the exam. Often times, college
classes will encourage the effort to secure an
amateur radio license by offering extra credit for the
class or by making it a course requirement.
Amateur radio offers a wide range of technical and

1. California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), Electrical Engineering Dept., 1 Grand Avenue San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
2. Cal Poly Electrical Engineering Industry Advisory Board Member Amazon Lab126, 1100 Enterprise Way, Sunnyvale, CA 94089
3. HKN Member (Eta Kappa Nu Chapter)

THE BRIDGE


https://www.fcc.gov/volunteer-examiner-coordinators-vecs https://www.fcc.gov/volunteer-examiner-coordinators-vecs https://hkn.ieee.org/ https://hkn.ieee.org/

The Bridge - Issue 2, 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Bridge - Issue 2, 2019

Contents
The Bridge - Issue 2, 2019 - Cover1
The Bridge - Issue 2, 2019 - Cover2
The Bridge - Issue 2, 2019 - Contents
The Bridge - Issue 2, 2019 - 4
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The Bridge - Issue 2, 2019 - Cover3
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