First off, thank you for stopping by! If you’re reading this, chances are you’re at least somewhat interested in the radio arts.
In this series of blog posts, lessons, experiments and examples, my goal is to bring you from a high school student’s perspective on electronics, to a fully fledged radio experimenter, using the concepts and tools the pros use.
Why create this course? Isn’t this material covered already in hundreds of textbooks and websites? What makes this course so different from all the other sources?
To understand my motivation to create this website, let me give you a bit of background about myself. I’ve been heavily interested in radio electronics for many years, and really wanted to learn more. I wanted to know enough to design my own receivers and transmitters. The first step I presumed was to study for a ham license. Unfortunately, I quickly noticed that only very limited technical skills are required to obtain it, and that even inside of ham radio clubs, few people are interested in the homebrewing or engineering side of the hobby (apart from APRS, digital stuff, and antenna building).
So, what do I need to know to become a designer? I decided to hit the books, and especially the ARRL handbook. Unfortunately, it doesn’t teach engineering or design, but only general electronic theory. While very useful to understand more about the devices and the different building blocks of radio, it still left many questions unanswered and is far from enough to begin consciously designing circuits.
What did I do next? Well, I now had a good amount of theoretical knowledge, but still no idea on how to apply it. Well, what better way to put into practice what I’ve learned so far than to study circuits that more experienced hams have built? So I did just that. And thus came one of the most frustrating moments in my learning phase. Apart from the filters, I couldn’t understand what most of the components where even there for. The amplifier circuits I can across looked nothing at all like the standard configurations I learned previously.
I hated not understand what others were building, and I refused to assemble a kit without understanding the function of each component. I realized I had to take a new approach. It was clear to me that not everything I wanted to learn was available in the classic ham literature. Even Wes Hayward’s most excellent text still left me with so many questions. As I scoured scholarly papers, websites, books, and PDFs, every questions that I managed to answer ended up creating even more questions. I spent months studying amplifiers alone, when all I started out with was a straightforward question. The radio arts can go deep, very deep. This approach was laborious and time consuming. It seemed that nowhere at all could you find a complete, well-explained course on these advanced subjects. My only course of action was to take bits and pieces everywhere to eventually “complete” my education.
This is the reason for the creation of this course. I want to give you the resource I wish I had when I started learning radio electronics. Contrary to most academic papers or PDF’s you will find, all examples and exercises will be fully detailed and explained, line by line, even for the most trivial of operations. Emphasis will be placed on designing circuits and developing an intuitive feel for the circuits.
While this course is created with the novice ham homebrewer in mind, since the complex topics commonly taught in college courses will be tackled, I suspect many students majoring in Electrical Engineering or RF Engineering will find this website to be of great help.
It is a common joke to say that RF engineering is black magic, that truly understanding the field is beyond mortal means. Then, let us become wizards, and tame the rich field of radio engineering together.