Chelsea Amateur License Upgrade Training

To join the meeting, look for the Chelsea Amateur Radio Club monthly Zoom meeting link on this website. Class begins on August 2, 2022.

What will you learn in each session? Not a lot. We are moving slowly but with determination. The important thing is that you will come away with something. But we beg your patience. We are constantly finding ways to improve our communication in this training which suggests that our presentation will at times be deficient.

Do you hate cookbooks? You should and Wes will show you why you should hate cookbooks.
Do you feel totally lost when it comes to Smith Charts? Join the club.

Depending on the attendee’s incoming electrical knowledge, there will be many, many times when the attendee feels totally lost. You should not let this discourage you. Most items covered will be visited again and again and again. With each session you will pick up knowledge, slowly but with dependability. It’s okay to skip classes but just remember, in doing so you are shooting yourself in the foot.

I hate cookbooks, and you should hate cookbooks, too. But why should you hate cookbooks? You should hate cookbooks because they make learning electromagnetics way too hard!

Have you ever found a step-by-step amateur radio project on the web that you liked and tried to build one Saturday afternoon. Did the project end up not working? Maybe the project was published in a magazine such as Popular Mechanics and the next month’s issue had a correction one Saturday afternoon late and a dollar short. I hate cookbooks and you should, too.

We at the Chelsea Amateur Radio Club want to ease your entry into learning electromagnetics as you tread a path toward upgrading your amateur radio license to the General and then the Extra class. Yes, it means more time in the books and a longer path to the upgrade. But you will find yourself not only innovating… but you will find other amateurs coming to you with their questions. That part of electromagnetics knowledge necessary for amateur radio is NOT rocket science.

The Chelsea Amateur Radio Club sponsors free amateur upgrade training and is open to the amateur public. This will be a weekly event in perpetuity each Tuesday evening from 6 to 7 PM by Zoom and will center on the Smith Chart as a theme. Each meeting will open with an animation video, The ABCs of Smith Charts, by Wes Cardone (N8QM), giving an overview of what the Smith Chart is all about. We will then talk/present in a very simplified fashion about some aspect of electromagnetics used within the Smith Chart. The target audience is the licensed amateur radio operator who knows little about the electromagnetics of the FCC pool questions for upgrading to General and Extra classes…but has an intense interest in them.

But why all the hubbub and fancy talk about cookbooks as if trying to circumvent the buggar in the room–electromagnetics? It’s because the Smith Chart encompasses pretty much all that there is in electromagnetics. Most amateurs consider the Smith Chart an obstacle in their amateur radio upgrade path. Admittedly, one would like to crawl into a hole in abject fear just to look at the Smith Chart. But the Smith Chart is there to make life easy and intuitive. The Smith Chart makes it possible to visualize the interaction of reactances and phase shifts and their role in wave reflection and antenna efficiency. One just has to take it one step at a time when learning about the Smith Chart.

So, how will all this training pan out, and what will it look like? Please consider that this training is intended for the licensed amateur radio operator with little electronics knowledge. But at the same time, Wes is guaranteeing that one astute in electronics will not be bored to tears (at least mostly).

Do you recall the announcement that we hate cookbooks? What that means is that we don’t want you to be memorizing a bunch of things. There is a place for memorizing equations that we cannot escape. However, the traditional approach entails much to memorize. When you memorize, there is much to forget when you take the FCC amateur radio upgrade exam. We think it is inefficient to teach you many things to forget. Our approach is to throw away the dreaded cookbook and spend some extra time visualizing what is going on.

An example of throwing away the cookbook concerns the FCC pool question, which asks you what the voltage is on the ends of a half-wave antenna. The traditional approach to this is just to tell you the answer, “a maximum,” and expect you to remember it. But doesn’t it make more sense to learn WHY the voltage is a maximum on the ends of a half-wave antenna? Learning the WHYs and the WHEREFOREs positions you to easily answer many more of the FCC pool questions on electromagnetics. But the important thing is that learning WHY something exists in nature enables one to become an innovator. If you do follow somebody’s cookbook telling you how to build an antenna, at least now you can spot and correct typos or outright errors in the text.

Please joint us each Tuesday by Zoom from 6 PM to 7 PM for a fun time of learning, courtesy of the Chelsea Amateur Radio Club.

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