December 31, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T5C07)

Q) What is a usual name for electromagnetic waves that travel through space?

A) Radio waves

NJ2X Notes:
It is often helpful to eliminate the obvious wrong answers when faced with a question you are unsure of.

A. Gravity waves - Gravity (what casues the apple to fall from the tree) is not an electromagnetic phenomena.
B. Sound waves - Sound (what you hear when a dog barks) is not an electomagnetic related.
C. Radio waves - Correct, radio waves are electromagnetic phenomena.
D. Pressure waves - Pressure waves is a term used when discussing sound waves.  This is a red-herring answer that doesn't relate to radio or electromagnetic waves.

December 30, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T5C06)

Q) What is the abbreviation that refers to radio frequency signals of all types?

A) RF

NJ2X Notes:
The abreviation "RF" stands for Radio Frequency.

December 29, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T2C11)

Q) What is meant by the term "check" in reference to a formal traffic message?

A) The check is a count of the number of words or word equivalents in the text portion of the message


NJ2X Notes:
Here is an example of a radio gram.  Notice the "check" field shows a count of 12 which equals the number of words and word equivalents in the message.



December 28, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T5C04)

Q) What is the basic unit of inductance?

A) The henry

NJ2X Notes:
The basic unit of inductance is named after the American scientist, Joseph Henry (December 17, 1797 – May 13, 1878) in honor of his ground breaking work in electromagetic phenomena and inductance.

Joseph Henry

December 27, 2013

Basis of public happiness...

There is nothing which can better deserve your patronage, than the promotion of science and literature.  Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness. -- George Washington

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T5C09)

Q) How much power is being used in a circuit when the applied voltage is 13.8 volts DC and the current is 10 amperes?

A) 138 watts

NJ2X Notes:
NJ2X PIE Triangle

It is useful to memorize the PIE triangle.  By covering up one variable you get the equation.  So in this example:

P = I * E
P = 10 Amps * 13.8 volts = 138 Watts

Easy as PIE!


December 26, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T5C11)

Q) How many amperes are flowing in a circuit when the applied voltage is 12 volts DC and the load is 120 watts?

A) 10 amperes

NJ2X Notes:
Memorize the PIE triangle to make these types of questions super easy to solve.  Just cover up the desired variable to find the equation:

NJ2X PIE Chart (Power, Current, Voltage)

In this example:

I = P / E
I = 120 watts / 12 vots = 10 amperes

Easy as PIE!


This question is from the FCC Element 2 Technician Class Question Pool
Effective July 1, 2010 for examinations and is valid until June 30, 2014

December 25, 2013

Five Fun Favorite FREE Amateur Radio Related iPhone Apps

So you are a ham and received an iPhone for Christmas and not sure what to do with it?  The ever popular iPhone is an excellent platform for amateur radio applications.  Here are five of our favorite fun free iPhone apps (life is lovelier and lighter with a little alliteration).  At the time of this writing, we are running these on our iPhone 5S and downloaded via iTunes.  Just search on the name in bold to find them in iTunes.

  1. QRZ - Search the QRZ.COM database of 1.2 million amateur radio call signs right from your iPhone.
  2. QST - Get the ARRL's magazine, QST, delivered directly to your iPhone each month.  The electronic version of QST includes more content than the paper version by including audio, video, and other content.
  3. EchoLink - Get out on various EchoLink-enabled amateur radio repeaters around the world.  All you need is an amateur radio license, an iPhone, a Wifi connection, or a 3G cellular network connection.  This a great way to enjoy the hobby and make contacts around the world when you are away from the shack.  Yes, it really still is radio.
  4. World Clocks Lite - Global Timezones - Handy clock app that can be configured to display UTC in a 24 hour time format along with the date.
  5. Morse Coach - Nice application for learning Morse code using the Koch method.  You can control the speed, tone, and difficulty level.  Practice, practice, practice.

Good DX and 73, NJ2X

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T5B11)

Q) What is the approximate amount of change, measured in decibels (dB), of a power increase from 20 watts to 200 watts?

A) 10 dB

NJ2X Notes:
You can use the following formula to calculate the ratio in decibels given two different power values.

dB = 10 * Log(Pa / Pb)

Using the figures in the question:
dB = 10 * Log (200 / 20)
dB = 10 * Log(10)
dB = 10 * 1
dB = 10

Casio fx-7000G calculator


FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T5D01)

Q) What formula is used to calculate current in a circuit?

A) Current (I) equals voltage (E) divided by resistance (R)

NJ2X Notes:
Ohm's Law was discovered by Georg Simon Ohm and is worth committing to memory:

E = I * R

or by manipulating the terms algebraically:

I = E / R

or

R = E / I


December 24, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T5C10)

Q) How much power is being used in a circuit when the applied voltage is 12 volts DC and the current is 2.5 amperes?

A) 30 watts

NJ2X Notes:
Memorize the PIE triangle to make this type of question super easy to solve.

NJ2X PIE Triangle (Power, Current, Voltage)

Just cover up the desired variable to find the equation.  In this example:

P = I * E
P = 2.5 amperes * 12 vots = 30 watts

Easy as PIE!

December 23, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T2C10)

Q) What is the preamble in a formal traffic message?
A) The information needed to track the message as it passes through the amateur radio traffic handling system

NJ2X Notes:
The preamble contains:
  • Message Number
  • Precedence
  • Handling instructions
  • Station of origin
  • Check (word count in text) (ARL)
  • Place of origin (location message originated from). City/State, special location, etc.
  • Time filed (local) (not required if sending routine message) Date (consistent with time)




December 22, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T5D02)

Q) What formula is used to calculate voltage in a circuit?

A) Voltage (E) equals current (I) multiplied by resistance (R)

NJ2X Notes:
Ohm's Law was discovered by Georg Simon Ohm and is worth committing to memory:

E = I * R

or by manipulating the terms algebraically:

I = E / R

or

R = E / I

December 21, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T2C09)

Q) When may an amateur station use any means of radio communications at its disposal for essential communications in connection with immediate safety of human life and protection of property?

A) When normal communications systems are not available


NJ2X Notes:
In an emergency, human life and protection of property are the priority.  This means that any means of radio communication can be used in an emergency.

Hams are good neighbors during an emergency or disaster because radio amateurs have the capability of communicating when all other means and infrastructure have been compromised.

December 20, 2013

Hams do...

We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. -- Carl Sagan

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T2C08)

Q) What is usually considered to be the most important job of an amateur operator when handling emergency traffic messages?

A) Passing messages exactly as written, spoken or as received


NJ2X Notes:
Message traffic can be form or information.  Formal traffic messages consists of four parts: preamble, address, text, signature.  The ARRL provides a radiogram form as an aid for capturing a message.

Parts of a formatted message:
1. Preamble:

  1. Message Number
  2. Precedence
  3. Handling Instructions
  4. Station of Origin
  5. Check
  6. Place of Origin
  7. Time Filed
  8. Date Filed
2. Addressee:
  1. Full name (If Ham operator - call sign)
  2. Street Address - House number and street
  3. City, State/Province, and Zip/Postal Code
  4. Telephone number with area code
4. First Break
5. Body of the message
Should not exceed twenty-five (25) words by convention.
6. Second Break
7. Signature - Of the party originating the message. Should contain address and phone number of the sender if reply requested.

December 19, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T5D03)

Q) What formula is used to calculate resistance in a circuit?

A) Resistance (R) equals voltage (E) divided by current (I)

NJ2X Notes:
Ohm's Law was discovered by Georg Simon Ohm and is worth committing to memory:

E = I * R

or by manipulating the terms algebraically:

I = E / R

or

R = E / I

Georg Simon Ohm

December 18, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T2A01)

Q) What is the most common repeater frequency offset in the 2 meter band?

A) plus or minus 600 kHz


NJ2X Note:
An amateur radio repeater is an electronic device that receives amateur signal and retransmits it so that the signal can cover longer distances.  Many repeaters are located on towers, hilltops, or on tall buildings as the higher location increases their coverage area (line of sight).

December 17, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T2A02)

Q) What is the national calling frequency for FM simplex operations in the 70 cm band?

A) 446.000 MHz

NJ2X Note:
If you have a radio that operates on 70 cm then it is helpful to know the calling frequency since you can use this to make contact with other stations monitoring this frequency.  If you are in an emergency situation and have a 70 cm radio at your disposal, knowing this simple fact may even save someone's life (including your own).

December 16, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T2A04)

Q) What is an appropriate way to call another station on a repeater if you know the other station's call sign?

A) Say the station's call sign then identify with your call sign


NJ2X Note:
An appropriate way to call another station on a repeater is to simply say the stations call sign and then your own call sign.  Since the audio quality of most FM repeaters is very high there is typically no need use the phonetic alphabet.

Example: "N2AB NJ2X"

December 15, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T2A06)

Q) What must an amateur operator do when making on-air transmissions to test equipment or antennas?

A) Properly identify the transmitting station


NJ2X Note:
Even though you may only be testing while making an on-air transmission you still must follow the rules regarding station identification.

December 14, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T2A07)

Q) Which of the following is true when making a test transmission?

A) Station identification is required at least every ten minutes during the test and at the end

NJ2X Note:
The key to this question is to understand that you must identify your station following the rules whenever transmitting regardless if it is a test or not.

December 13, 2013

Mobile operations observation

Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac? -- George Carlin

George Carlin

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T2A08)

Q) What is the meaning of the procedural signal "CQ"?

A) Calling any station

NJ2X Note:
The procedural signal "CQ" (calling any station) is used universally on all bands and modes by hams around the world.

December 12, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T2A09)

Q) What brief statement is often used in place of "CQ" to indicate that you are listening on a repeater?

A) Say your call sign

NJ2X Note:
Contacts made on a repeater are often "in the clear" meaning the audio is very clear so there is little need for the long call format heard on HF.  Simply dropping your call when a repeater will suffice.

Example of a call on HF:
CQ CQ CQ NJ2X
CQ CQ CQ NJ2X

December 11, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T2A10)

Q) What is a band plan, beyond the privileges established by the FCC?

A) A voluntary guideline for using different modes or activities within an amateur band

NJ2X Note:
The ARRL publishes band plans for each of the amateur radio bands.  A band plan is a very helpful reference and worth spending time studying.  Here is an example of the 2m band plan:

2 Meters (144-148 MHz):

144.00-144.05EME (CW)
144.05-144.10General CW and weak signals
144.10-144.20EME and weak-signal SSB
144.200National calling frequency
144.200-144.275General SSB operation
144.275-144.300Propagation beacons
144.30-144.50New OSCAR subband
144.50-144.60Linear translator inputs
144.60-144.90FM repeater inputs
144.90-145.10Weak signal and FM simplex (145.01,03,05,07,09 are widely used for packet)
145.10-145.20Linear translator outputs
145.20-145.50FM repeater outputs
145.50-145.80Miscellaneous and experimental modes
145.80-146.00OSCAR subband
146.01-146.37Repeater inputs
146.40-146.58Simplex
146.52National Simplex Calling Frequency
146.61-146.97Repeater outputs
147.00-147.39Repeater outputs
147.42-147.57Simplex
147.60-147.99Repeater inputs

December 10, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T2B03)

Q) Which of the following describes the muting of receiver audio controlled solely by the presence or absence of an RF signal?

A) Carrier squelch


NJ2X Notes:
A carrier squelch opens the radio's audio based on the presence of sufficiently strong signal.  A radio equipped with carrier squelch automatically mutes the radio's audio when there is an absence of a signal with sufficient strength.  Most amateur radios are equipped with an adjustable carrier squelch.

December 9, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T2A11)

Q) What are the FCC rules regarding power levels used in the amateur bands?

A) An amateur must use the minimum transmitter power necessary to carry out the desired communication.

NJ2X Notes:
Radio amateurs have a long tradition of using minimum power to carry out contacts.  In fact, it is a great source of pride for many to break a pile up and beat the "big guns" with a few watts.  Skill and a couple of watts (QRP) can do wonders.

December 8, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1F13)

Q) When must the station licensee make the station and its records available for FCC inspection?

A) Any time upon request by an FCC representative

NJ2X Note:
Station records include any written documentation about your amateur radio station and operations.  Station records typically include a logbook of station operations.  However, a logbook is not required by the FCC.

December 7, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T2A03)

Q) What is a common repeater frequency offset in the 70 cm band?

A) Plus or minus 5 MHz

NJ2X Note:
Repeaters help extend the range of your VHF / UHF radio which typically are limited to line-of-sight communication.

December 6, 2013

Wandering wit...

If a man's wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics. -- Francis Bacon

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1F12)

Q) How many persons are required to be members of a club for a club station license to be issued by the FCC?

A) At least 4


NJ2X Note:
A club station license allows members of an amateur radio club to have a station operating under a club call sign. The license is granted only to the trustee of the club. It conveys no operating privileges. To be granted a club station license, a club must have:
• A name
• A document of organization, bylaws, charter, etc
• Management , list of current officers
• A primary purpose devoted to amateur service activities consistent with the FCC Rules
• At least four persons
• A license trustee designated by an officer of the club
• Trustee must hold an Amateur Extra, Advanced, General, Technician Plus or Technician Class operator license grant.

December 5, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T1F10)

Q) Who is accountable should a repeater inadvertently retransmit communications that violate the FCC rules?

A) The control operator of the originating station


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.

Repeater. An amateur station that simultaneously retransmits the transmission of another amateur station on a different channel or channels.


December 4, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T2B02)

Q) What is the term used to describe the use of a sub-audible tone transmitted with normal voice audio to open the squelch of a receiver?

A) CTCSS


NJ2X Notes:
Continuous Tone-Coded Squelch System or CTCSS is used to reduce interference on a shared two-way radio communications frequency.  Instead of opening the receive audio for any signal, CTCSS causes the two-way radio receiver's audio to open only in the presence of the normal RF signal and the correct sub-audible audio tone (sub-audible meaning that the receiver circuitry can detect it, but is unheard by the users in the audio output).

Kenwood TH-F6A has built-in Continue Tone-Coded Squelch System (CTCSS)


December 3, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T2B04)

Q) Which of the following common problems might cause you to be able to hear but not access a repeater even when transmitting with the proper offset?

A) All of these choices are correct
- The repeater receiver requires audio tone burst for access
- The repeater receiver requires a CTCSS tone for access
- The repeater receiver may require a DCS tone sequence for access


NJ2X Notes:
It is quite common for repeaters to require the use of a specific sub-audible tone to open the repeater's receiver squelch.  This helps reduce interference.  You can find the specific tone for the repeater contacting the repeater's owners or by using a repeater directory.  The ARRL publishes an updated paper bound and electronic repeater directory each year.

December 2, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T2B05)

Q) What determines the amount of deviation of an FM signal?

A) The amplitude of the modulating signal


NJ2X Notes:
Modulation is a change or alteration in a signal.  We modulate signals in order to impart information and communicate.  Frequency is modulated in an FM signal.  Deviation of an FM signal is the component of change in carrier frequency that the modulating signal produces.

Edwin Howard Armstrong invented frequency modulation (FM) radio.

December 1, 2013

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T2B06)

Q) What happens when the deviation of an FM transmitter is increased?

A) Its signal occupies more bandwidth


NJ2X Notes:
With an FM transmitter, the louder you speak into the microphone the greater the signal deviation.  The greater the deviation the more bandwidth the signal occupies.