January 10, 2014

Ignorance of science...

It has become almost a cliché to remark that nobody boasts of ignorance of literature, but it is socially acceptable to boast ignorance of science and proudly claim incompetence in mathematics. -- Richard Dawkins

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T3B03)

Q) What are the two components of a radio wave?

A) Electric and magnetic fields


NJ2X Notes:
Electromagnetic waves have two components: the electric and the magnetic.  The two components are oriented perpendicular to each other.

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

January 9, 2014

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T3A09)

Q) Which of the following is a common effect of “skip” reflections between the Earth and the ionosphere?

A) The polarization of the original signal is randomized


NJ2X Notes:
Antenna polarization is very important for line-of-sight VHF and UHF communications since a mismatch between the transmitter antenna polarization and the reciever antenna polarization results in significant signal loss.

Signal polarization on HF and 6M typically involve reflecting radio waves off the ionosphere or earth.  These reflections tend to randomly change the polarization.  The result is that differences between transmitting antenna polarization and receiving antenna polarization matter much less than on VHF and UHF line-of-sight communication.


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

January 8, 2014

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T5C03)

Q) What is the ability to store energy in a magnetic field called?

A) Inductance

NJ2X Notes:
Here is a little memory trick you may find helpful.   An inductor can be made from a coil of magnet wire which can store energy.

January 7, 2014

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T3A01)

Q) What should you do if another operator reports that your station’s 2 meter signals were strong just a moment ago, but now they are weak or distorted?

A) Try moving a few feet, as random reflections may be causing multi-path distortion


NJ2X Notes:
Multi-path propagation occurs commonly with mobile and portable VHF / UHF operations. With multi-path propagation the signal received includes not only a direct line-of- sight radio wave, but also a large number of reflected radio waves.







The reflected waves can interfere with the line-of-sight wave causing distortion or poor reception.  Moving the transmitter a short distance can dramatically change the reflections thereby improving reception.

Remember this phenomena the next time you or a friend are having difficulty connecting a PC to wifi.  Moving the PC only a short distance can make enough of a difference that you are able to connect (and amaze your friend).

January 6, 2014

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T3A02)

Q) Why are UHF signals often more effective from inside buildings than VHF signals?

A) The shorter wavelength allows them to more easily penetrate the structure of buildings


NJ2X Notes:
The higher the frequency, the shorter the wavelength, and the smaller the opening required to pass signals through.

January 5, 2014

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T3A03)

Q) What antenna polarization is normally used for long-distance weak-signal CW and SSB contacts using the VHF and UHF bands?

A) Horizontal


NJ2X Notes:
Horizontally polarized antennas include: dipole, yagi, quads, and horizontal loop antennas.


Rotatable Dipole


January 4, 2014

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T3A07)

Q) What type of wave carries radio signals between transmitting and receiving stations?

A) Electromagnetic


NJ2X Note:
This question is a good of example of how you can increase your odds of selecting the correct answer by first eliminating the obvious wrong answers.

Here are the four choices that will appear on the exam for this question:

A. Electromagnetic
B. Electrostatic
C. Surface acoustic
D. Magnetostrictive

B. Electrostatic - This is synonym for static electricity.  Fun to zap someone after shuffling across a carpeted floor.  Not a very useful for transmitting with a radio.

C. Surface acoustic - This is a nonsense term.  Acoustic refers to sound waves that we can hear with our ears.  Has nothing to do with transmitting radio signals.

D. Magnetostrictive - This is a real term though unrelated to radio.  This is also trick answer since it incorporates the "magneto" which sounds a little like "electromagnetic".

January 3, 2014

Enthusiasm for science...

I am often amazed at how much more capability and enthusiasm for science there is among elementary school youngsters than among college students.  -- Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T5C01)

Q) What is the ability to store energy in an electric field called?

A) Capacitance

NJ2X Notes:
Here is a little memory trick that works for us, "storing energy requires capacity".

January 2, 2014

FCC Technician Exam Question Of The Day (T5C02)

Q) What is the basic unit of capacitance?

A) The farad

NJ2X Notes:
The capacitance unit of measure, "farad" is named after the great scientific genius, Michael Faraday.

Michael Faraday

January 1, 2014

Reflections on NJ2X's LoTW statistics for 2013

As we start the new year 2014, we reviewed our LoTW stats to see how our year in ham radio went.

1/16/2013                  1/1/2014                       Delta
3,556 QSO records    3,955 QSO records      399 QSO records
1,486 QSL records     1,780 QSL records      294 QSL records
42% QSL/QSO           45% QSL/QSO           74% QSL/QSO
54,750 LoTW users    62,151 LoTW users    7401 increase in registered LoTW users

It is nice to see the number of registered LoTW users going up each year.  The 14% increase of users helped drive up everyone's LoTW QSL/QSO ratios.  We saw a 3% increase in our overall QSL/QSO ratio in 2013 as a result.  Tell your friends now is a great time to jump in and join The Logbook of The World.



I am looking forward to the day when we see the number of registered LoTW users increase to 100,000 or 200,000 hams worldwide.  How about 1,000,000 LoTW subscribers?  What will the average QSL/QSO LoTW ratio be when that happens?  Pretty darn good I am sure.

So how does your QSL/QSO LoTW ratio compare?  Not using the LoTW yet?  Well come on and join the fun.

Good DX and 73, NJ2X


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© Michael W. Maher and NJ2X.COM, 2014. 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 (T5C08)

Q) What is the formula used to calculate electrical power in a DC circuit?

A) Power (P) equals voltage (E) multiplied by current (I)

NJ2X Notes:
There is a really excellent method for memorizing the various power/voltage/current relationships called simply the "PIE" method or also the "Power Triangle".



NJ2X PIE chart for finding the relation between power, current, and voltage

To use this, memorize drawing a triangle with the letter PIE arranged as above which stand for Power (P), Current (I), and Voltage (E) .  Then cover any letter to find the formula (see above).  Presto magico - easy as PIE!