The Bridge - Issue 2, 2019 - 23

GREAT IMPEDANCE MATCH FOR KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER:
Amateur Radio as Part of Electrical and Computer Engineering Education

Feature

RADIO CONTESTING
Some students participate in the art of radio
contesting, where amateur radio operators strive to
make as many contacts with other radio operators as
they can in a dedicated time period. This competitive
activity is a great engaging way to get students
(including younger or less technical ones) on the air
and learning more about how radios work. Through
contesting, students will become familiar with radio
operating techniques, RF power output, antenna
gain, radio propagation and ionospheric effects, and
many other aspects related to radio setup and usage.
During these contests, operators rack up "points"
which count towards their overall score. Awarding
different points for different types of operation
allows students to try different operating modes to
increase their score (i.e. 1 point for voice contacts,
2 points for a digital-mode contact, and 3 points for
a CW (Morse code) contact). Collegiate contests find
students, faculty and staff operating their radios for
up to a week between classes making contacts and
earning points in friendly competition with
one another.
These contests extend to more than just collegiate
competitions: Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) and ARRL
Field Day offer opportunities for collegiate operators
to engage with the local and national amateur radio
communities (http://www.arrl.org/contests). JOTA is
an event organized through the scouting community
and encourages young people to learn about the
art of amateur radio. Field Day is an annual contest
which encourages all amateur operators to exercise
their operating privileges and make as many contacts
as possible in a 24-hour period to demonstrate their
emergency operating capability.

RADIO DIRECTION FINDING
Another engaging activity where students can apply
their ECE skills is in the world of Transmitter Hunting
(colloquially called Fox Hunts), in which Radio
Direction Finding (RDF) techniques are applied to
find hidden transmitters, as seen in Figure 7. Often
using home-built directional antennas and low-cost
transceivers, this offers opportunities to learn about

Fig. 7: Students Davide Lanfranconi (KM6FLL) and Andrea Lanfranconi
using home-built directional antennas during a transmitter hunt.
The hidden transmitter puts out telemetry for 10 seconds each
minute. Transmitter hunters then run for 50 seconds before
they get their next directional fix, plotting their direction bearings
and triangulating the signal. Watch out for multi-path reflections
though, as this can send the team off in a wrong direction.
Photo Credit: Jack Gallegos (KK6YWG).

antenna patterns, weak signal propagation, multipath,
and many other complex RF concepts not ordinarily
exposed to students. Some students even take the
competition a step further, developing complex
systems for direction finding utilizing custom circuitry.
Others create custom antennas to be used for RDF,
learning about special considerations for antenna
design. Students can quickly find the parallels from
this fun activity to real-world applications including
search and rescue (including aircraft emergency
transponders, elderly locating devices, and avalanche
beacons) and stolen vehicle tracking (LoJack).

PUBLIC SERVICE EVENT SUPPORT
In the spirit of public service, student amateur radio
operators can participate in a variety of activities
allowing them to make a positive contribution to

HKN.ORG

23


http://www.arrl.org/contests http://www.arrl.org/hamfests-and-conventions-calendar http://www.arrl.org/hamfests-and-conventions-calendar 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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