October 31, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1F01)

Q) What type of identification is being used when identifying a station on the air as Race Headquarters?

A) Tactical call

NJ2X Note:
During events such as Bike-a-Thons, marathons, and parades, tactical call signs are often more useful than regular call signs. "Milemarker Five" and "Finish Line" are more descriptive in these situations. Remember that all stations must still ID with their FCC call signs every 10 minutes.

October 30, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1C04)

Q) When are you allowed to operate your amateur station in a foreign country?

A) When the foreign country authorizes it.

NJ2X Note:
Travelling to foreign lands with your amateur radio equipment is one of the wonderful aspects of the hobby.  Hams routinely organize special trips to exotic locations for the sole purpose of operating their radios and making as many contacts as possible.  These events are referred to as DX Expeditions.  Other hams enjoy a more modest approach by simply bringing their lightweight portable radio or HT with them on trips or cruises (see our article, "Flying With An HT").



October 29, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1E09)

Q) What type of control is being used when transmitting using a handheld radio?

A) Local control

NJ2X Note:
Local control. The use of a control operator who directly manipulates the operating adjustments in the station to achieve compliance with the FCC Rules.

October 28, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1F03)

Q) When is an amateur station required to transmit its assigned call sign?

A) At least every 10 minutes during and at the end of a contact

NJ2X Note:
Some amateur radio operators use a timer to help remind them to transmit their call during the course of a contact.  When making contact with another amateur radio operator over a repeater, some hams simply transmit their call immediately following the repeater transmitting its own call (using it as a 10 minute reminder).


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October 27, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1E10)

Q) What type of control is used when the control operator is not at the station location but can indirectly manipulate the operating adjustments of a station?

A) Remote

NJ2X Note:
Remote control. The use of a control operator who indirectly manipulates the operating adjustments in the station through a control link to achieve compliance with the FCC Rules.


October 26, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1F06)

Q) Which of the following formats of a self-assigned indicator is acceptable when identifying using a phone transmission?

A. KL7CC stroke W3
B. KL7CC slant W3
C. KL7CC slash W3
D. All of these choices are correct

NJ2X Note:
The word "stroke" or "slash" or "slant" are the spoken equivalent of the symbol "/".  For example, "this is NJ2X/portable" is spoken as, "this is NJ2X stroke portable".

October 25, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1C07)

Q) What may result when correspondence from the FCC is returned as undeliverable because the grantee failed to provide the correct mailing address?

A) Revocation of the station license or suspension of the operator license.

NJ2X Note:
It is essential that you maintain your current address with the FCC.  It is a small task to update your address as compared to the hassle of losing your license.


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October 24, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1F02)

Q) When using tactical identifiers, how often must your station transmit the station's FCC-assigned call sign?

A) Every ten minutes

NJ2X Note:
During events such as Bike-a-Thons, marathons, and parades, tactical call signs are often more useful than regular call signs. "Mile Marker One" and "Water Point One" are more descriptive in these situations. Remember that all stations must still ID with their FCC call signs every 10 minutes.



October 23, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1F04)

Q) Which of the following is an acceptable language for use for station identification when operating in a phone sub-band?

A) The English language

NJ2X Note:
Amateur radio operators often use the phonetic alphabet when transmitting their call via phone.  It is good idea to practice and memorize the international phonetic alphabet.  By the way, why isn't "phonetic" spelled that way?  :-)

ITU Phonetic Alphabet
Letter to be transmitted Phonetic Spoken as
A Alfa AL FAH
B Bravo BRAH VOH
C Charlie CHAR LEE
D Delta DELL TAH
E Echo ECK OH
F Foxtrot FOKS TROT
G Golf GOLF
H Hotel HOH TELL
I India IN DEE AH
J Juliett JEW LEE ETT
K Kilo KEY LOH
L Lima LEE MAH
M Mike MIKE
N November NO VEM BER
O Oscar OSS CAH
P Papa PAH PAH
Q Quebec KEH BECK
R Romeo ROW ME OH
S Sierra SEE AIR RAH
T Tango TANG GO
U Uniform YOU NEE FORM
V Victor VIK TAH
W Whiskey WISS KEY
X X-ray ECKS RAY
Y Yankee YANG KEY
Z Zulu ZOO LOO

October 22, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1C09)

Q) What is the grace period following the expiration of an amateur license within which the license may be renewed?

A) Two years


NJ2X Notes:
This is important information for hams who are considering changing to a specific vanity call.  Even though a call has expired does not make it available to be reassigned immediately.

October 21, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1E11)

Q) Who does the FCC presume to be the control operator of an amateur station, unless documentation to the contrary is in the station records?

A) The station licensee

NJ2X Note:
Control operator. An amateur operator designated by the licensee of a station to be responsible for the transmissions from that station to assure compliance with the FCC Rules.

Amateur operator. A person named in an amateur operator/primary license grant on the ULS consolidated licensee database to be the control operator of an amateur station.

October 20, 2013

JOTA 2013 Fun

The 2013 Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) was a lot of fun.  The Skyview Radio Society held their annual Radio Merit Badge course for a group of very interested boy scouts.  Big smiles all around while operating various radio stations and modes.  It is very rewarding experience to help a youth make their first DX contact.

The 10m band was wide open world-wide so we spent most of our operating time there.  Conditions were simply perfect.  We were quite impressed with being able to make a 10m AM contact with Dave, GW4GTE in North Wales.  AM DX sounds great with favorable conditions.

Our most momentous contact during the event was a 10m SSB contact with GB2GP operating from Gilwell Park in Sewardstonebury, Epping Forest, close to Chingford, London.  Gilwell park is a landmark location for the scouting movement and used a camp site and activity center for Scouting groups, as well as a training and conference center for Scout Leaders.

Wood Badge beads on top of the 1st Gilwell Scout Group neckerchief.

GB2GP is the call sign of The Scout Association Headquarters and campsite.  It is one of very few permanent special event call signs issued by the United Kingdom.  The shack is managed by scouters from around the UK, and exists to promote radio and technology to the young people of the Scout and Guide movements.

The scouting movement is a powerful force for good in our world.  Please support your local scouting organizations.

Good DX and 73, NJ2X

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1F07)

Q) Which of the following restrictions apply when appending a self-assigned call sign indicator?

A) It must not conflict with any other indicator specified by the FCC rules or with any call sign prefix assigned to another country

NJ2X Note:
Indicator. Words, letters or numerals appended to and separated from the call sign during the station identification. 

The symbol "/" (which is pronounced "slash") is used to separate the indicator from the call sign.  Examples:
  • NJ2X/Portable or NJ2X/P
  • NJ2X/Mobile or NJ2X/M
  • NJ2X/QRP

October 19, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1C08)

Q) What is the normal term for an FCC-issued primary station/operator license grant?

A) Ten years

NJ2X Note:
Many hams consider their license as something they will keep for life.  This requires the minimal effort and expense of renewing every 10 years.

October 18, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1F05)

Q) What method of call sign identification is required for a station transmitting phone signals?

A) Send the call sign using CW or phone emission

NJ2X Note:
Repeaters commonly transmit their own call sign automatically via CW even though all the activity on the repeater is phone.




October 17, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1F08)

Q) When may a Technician Class licensee be the control operator of a station operating in an exclusive Extra Class operator segment of the amateur bands?

A) Never


NJ2X Note:
Control operator. An amateur operator designated by the licensee of a station to be responsible for the transmissions from that station to assure compliance with the FCC Rules.

October 16, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T0C10)

Q) Why is duty cycle one of the factors used to determine safe RF radiation exposure levels?

A) It affects the average exposure of people to radiation

NJ2X Notes:
Non-Ionizing Radiation Warning Symbol
A duty cycle is the time that a device spends in its active state as a fraction of the total time under consideration.  In an amateur radio and RF safety context, the term is used with reference to transmitters.  Different operating modes have different duty cycle characteristics since the RF being radiated is often intermittent.  A lower duty cycle reduces the average exposure to the RF radiation. 

Examples of operating mode typical duty cycles:
  • CW           = 40%
  • SSB voice = 20%
  • FM            = 100%
Duty cycle is used to determine average power.  Here is the formula:

      Average power = PEP x operating cycle x (transmitting time / averaging period)


October 15, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T0C08)

Q) Which of the following actions might amateur operators take to prevent exposure to RF radiation in excess of FCC-supplied limits?

A) Relocate antennas


NJ2X Notes:
Relocating an antenna is an effective way to prevent exposure to RF radiation in excess of FCC limits.  For more information about RF safety check out the FCC RF Safety page.



October 14, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T0C09)

Q) How can you make sure your station stays in compliance with RF safety regulations?

A) By re-evaluating the station whenever an item of equipment is changed

NJ2X Notes:
Re-evaluating the station when making equipment changes is a great way to approach RF safety since it will help you consider potential risks that you may have overlooked.

October 13, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T0C11)

Q) What is meant by "duty cycle" when referring to RF exposure?

A) The ratio of on-air time to total operating time of a transmitted signal

NJ2X Notes:
A duty cycle is the time that a device spends in its active state as a fraction of the total time under consideration. In an amateur radio and RF safety context, the term is used with reference to transmitters.  So a transmitter's duty cycle is the time a transmitter is functionally transmitting in a specified period of time.  Different operating modes have different duty cycle characteristics since the RF being radiated is often intermittent. A lower duty cycle reduces the average exposure to the RF radiation.

Examples of operating mode typical duty cycles:

  • CW = 40%
  • SSB voice = 20%
  • FM = 100%
Duty cycle is used to determine average power. Here is the formula:

Average power = PEP x operating cycle x (transmitting time / averaging period)




October 12, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T0C07)

Q) What could happen if a person accidentally touched your antenna while you were transmitting?
A) They might receive a painful RF burn

NJ2X Notes:
RF burns are painful and harmful.  Locate antennas where they cannot be accidently touched. 




October 11, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1B03)

Q) Which frequency is within the 6 meter band?

A) 52.525 MHz


Note from NJ2X: The 6m band is also know as the "magic band".  It is a rather amazing band that behaves at times both like a VHF band and an HF band.  6m supports all kinds of interesting propagation.  Best of all, technician license holders have privileges on the band!

October 10, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1D05)

Q) When may amateur radio operators use their stations to notify other amateurs of the availability of equipment for sale or trade?

A) When the equipment is normally used in an amateur station and such activity is not conducted on a regular basis.

NJ2X Note:
It is common to hear a "swap-and-shop" during the regular course of an amateur radio net.  These can be a great way to pickup amateur radio related gear.  Local nets offer the additional benefit of being able to pickup the item locally and talk to the ham before the purchase.

October 9, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1D04)

Q) What is the only time an amateur station is authorized to transmit music?

A) When incidental to an authorized retransmission of manned spacecraft communications

NJ2X Note:
When operating by phone, be aware of what is going on in the environment around your station since nearby sounds can be picked up by your station's microphone.  Is the TV or broadcast radio on?  If yes, and music is picked up by your microphone then you could inadvertently be transmitting music on the amateur bands in violation of FCC rules.



October 8, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1E03)

Q) Who must designate the station control operator?

A) The station licensee

NJ2X Note:
§97.103 Station licensee responsibilities. -
(a) The station licensee is responsible for the proper operation of the station in accordance with the FCC Rules. When the control operator is a different amateur operator than the station licensee, both persons are equally responsible for proper operation of the station.

(b) The station licensee must designate the station control operator. The FCC will presume that the station licensee is also the control operator, unless documentation to the contrary is in the station records.

(c) The station licensee must make the station and the station records available for inspection upon request by an FCC representative. When deemed necessary by a District Director to assure compliance with the FCC Rules, the station licensee must maintain a record of station operations containing such items of information as the District Director may require in accord with § 0.314(x) of the FCC Rules.



October 7, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1E01)

Q) When must an amateur station have a control operator?

A) Only when the station is transmitting

NJ2X Note:
FCC Part 97.3(13) Control operator. An amateur operator designated by the licensee of a station to be responsible for the transmissions from that station to assure compliance with the FCC Rules.


October 6, 2013

Project: Home Brew 9 Volt Battery Clip

The Eveready company introduced the 9v battery type in 1956.  The familiar 9v battery utilizes a snap or clip to connect to its terminals.  Home brewers, DIY enthusiasts, makers, and kit builders all routinely use 9v batteries or battery-packs that are equipped with 9v terminals to power their projects.  All these battery powered projects require 9v battery clips to attach the battery to the circuit.

Commercial 9v battery clips are of course readily available.  The commercial 9v battery clips are rather pricey ($2.69/each at a local electronics retailer) and lack somewhat in quality.
Why buy an overpriced and inferior component when a superior version can be fabricated for FREE from readily available recycled components?  Here is how we make our own 9v battery clips using parts recycled from dead 9v batteries.

9v Battery



Tools and parts used
  • A dead 9v battery
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Soldering iron
  • Electronic solder flux
  • Electronic solder
  • Hot glue gun and glue stick
Step 1: Open 9v battery case
There is a crimped seam that runs the length of the 9v battery case.  Using a pair of needle nose pliers, carefully open the 9v battery case starting at the bottom of the case at the seam.  It takes a little practice, patience, and hand strength to complete the operation.  Be sure not to damage the six LR61 size cells cells inside.  Haven't you always wondered what was inside a 9v battery?  Now you know.
9v Battery Case Opened At Seam
Step 2: Remove top and bottom from the 9v battery
Complete remove the cover once the case seam has been opened the full length of the battery.  The top of the battery is soldered / welded to two leads.  Break the welds by gently pulling the top away from the battery.  The bottom falls away from the battery on its own.  Keep the top and bottom.  They will be used to make the battery clip.  Properly recycle the remaining battery cells and case.
9v battery top and bottom removed from recycled 9v battery
Step 3: Solder leads to the battery top
We apply a thin coat of flux to the battery top inside metal.  The flux cleans the metal and helps the solder to flow and form good solder joints.  The red lead goes to the positive contact.  The black lead goes to the negative contact (the smaller circular contact on the clip).  The clip will be wired so that when connected to a 9v battery the positive wire is connected to the positive terminal.  Carefully solder the leads assuring good quality solder joints.
Red and black leads soldered to inside of 9v battery top
Step 4: Use hot-glue to affix the battery bottom over the soldered leads
The final step is to seal the battery clip using hot-glue and the 9v battery bottom.  Once the glue is dry, use a sharp knife to carefully trim the excess glue.

Step 5: Test your new clip
The purpose of this test is to both confirm you have correctly wired the leads to the clip and the clip is conducting power from a battery.  Connect the battery clip to a good 9v battery.  Connect your volt meter across the battery clip terminals by connecting the positive meter lead to the red wire and negative meter lead to the black wire.  If your meter shows approximately 9v then you have successfully fabricated a 9v battery clip.
Voila!  The home-brew 9 volt battery clip is complete in four easy steps.  Below is a photo comparing a commercial clip (left) with our home-brew version (right).  The home-brew clip has a much more durable look and feel.  Another obvious difference is the quality of the lead wires.  For this project, we used wire we recycled from a dead computer power supply which is heavier gauge and more durable.

Flimsy $2.69 Commercial 9v Clip on Left versus $0.00 cost home-brew 9v Clip on Right
We make several of these at a time to keep on-hand for future projects.
So why build when you can buy?
  • This is a fun and easy project.
  • This project can save you money (savings $2.69/clip).
  • This project would make an excellent group activity such as a boy scout troop electronic night.
  • Great way to make a 9v clip if ever in a tight spot (ala McGiver or repairing equipment during a disaster or emergency).
  • The quality of the end result is superior in several ways to the commercial off the shelf 9v clip.
Good DX and 73, NJ2X


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© Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1D09)

Q) Under which of the following circumstances are amateur stations authorized to transmit signals related to broadcasting, program production, or news gathering, assuming no other means is available?

A) Only where such communications directly relate to the immediate safety of human life or protection of property.


NJ2X Notes:
Human life, safety, and protection of property are of the highest importance.

October 5, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T0C06)

Q) Which of the following is an acceptable method to determine that your station complies with FCC RF exposure regulations?

A. By calculation based on FCC OET Bulletin 65
B. By calculation based on computer modeling
C. By measurement of field strength using calibrated equipment
D. All of these choices are correct



NJ2X Notes:
FCC OET Bulletin 65 is titled, "Evaluating Compliance with FCC Guidelines for Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields".





October 4, 2013

Using your multimeter: Continuity Test

One of the most basic uses of a multimeter is to test if there is continuity in a circuit. Testing for continuity means to verify if a circuit, wire or fuse is complete with no open. A switch in the off position will be "open" and no continuity.  A switch in the on position "closed" and has continuity between its contacts.

Digital Multimeter

Audible continuity means the multimeter produces a tone that you can hear when a circuit is complete.  Audible continuity testing is very handy since it allows you keep your eyes on your hands and the circuit you are testing.  You can hear if continuity is present without looking at the meter.

Never try to test continuity with on a circuit that is energized.  The meter may be damaged and you risk injury.

The basic procedure for a continuity test:
  1. Make sure the circuit is not energized.
  2. Set your multimeter to continuity test.
  3. Touch the two probes together.  You should hear a tone which indicates the continuity test is working.  If you don't hear a tone then the multimeter you must stop and resolve the issue. Likely problems: the meter is not set to continuity test, the meter's fuse is blown, or the multimeter is damaged.
  4. Place the two probes across the two conductor you are testing for continuity.
  5. If you hear a tone, continuity is present.  If you don't hear a tone then the circuit is "open" and there is no continuity.
Typical uses in amateur radio:
  • Confirm there is no electrical connection (short) between the center conductor and shield on a piece of coax
  • Confirm that there is an electrical connection between the center conductors on both ends of a length of coax
  • Confirm that there is an electrical connection between the shield on one end to the other end on a length of coax
  • Testing DC power cable assemblies.
  • Testing fuses
  • Test if a switch is working properly
  • Test if the multimeter's own internal fuse has been blown
There are an endless number of uses for a basic continuity test and it is a great feature to have in a multimeter and on your bench.


Good DX and 73, NJ2X

Check out our other related articles on NJ2X.COM:
Quick Guide To Common Multimeter Symbols and Abbreviations






© Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1B02)

Q) North American amateur stations are located in which ITU region?

A) Region 2


NJ2X Note:
  • Region 1: Europe, Africa, the Middle East west of the Persian Gulf and including Iraq, the former Soviet Union and Mongolia.comprises Europe , Africa, the Middle East west of the Persian Gulf and including Iraq, the former Soviet Union and Mongolia.
  • Region 2: The Americas and Greenland and some of the eastern Pacific Islands.covers the Americas and Greenland and some of the eastern Pacific Islands.
  • Region 3: contains most of non-former-Soviet-Union Asia, east of and including Iran, and most of Oceania.

View ITU region division in a larger map

October 3, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1D07)

Q) When is an amateur station authorized to automatically retransmit the radio signals of other amateur stations?

A) When the signals are from an auxiliary, repeater, or space station


NJ2X Note:
Repeaters are useful for facilitating local communication.  The FCC defines a repeater as, "An amateur station which simultaneously retransmits the transmission of another amateur station on a different channel or channels [97.3(a)(37)]."


10

October 2, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1E02)

Q) Who is eligible to be the control operator of an amateur station?

A) Only a person for whom an amateur operator/primary station license grant appears in the FCC database or who is authorized for alien reciprocal operation.

NJ2X Notes:
You can search the FCC database on-line via the "FCC Universal Licensing System" by call sign, or FRN, or name.



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October 1, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T0C05)

Q) Why do exposure limits vary with frequency?

A) The human body absorbs more RF energy at some frequencies than at others

NJ2X Notes:
Heating of tissues is a potential effect of radio frequency non-ionizing radiation on the human body. The human eye is sensitive to RF.