Electrical Engineering 84, Section 1

Fun with Ham Radio (2 units, P/NP)

Professors Michael Lustig and Michael Zuerch
Thursday 4:00-6:00, 531 Cory Hall, Class number: 28002

This is the second part of a series of two classes (EE39 —Hands on ham, EE84 – Fun with ham radio). If you have taken EE39, or already have an amateur radio license, take this class.

Amateur radio (ham radio) is a popular hobby and service in which licensed Amateur Radio operators (hams) operate communications equipment. Although Amateur Radio operators get involved for many reasons, they all have in common a basic knowledge of radio technology and operating principles, and pass an examination for the FCC license to operate on radio frequencies known as the “Amateur Bands." These bands are radio frequencies reserved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for use by ham radio operators.

While this course is originally intended as continuation of the “Hands-on Ham Radio” Sophomore seminar, it is self sustaining and we welcome anyone interested in taking the class with and without previous background. We will cover topics such as:

* Simple antenna design and simulation
* Simple RF circuit design and making radio-related equipment
* Practical design and building of shortwave antennas: from minimalistic to competitive Radio sport: What is contesting? How can I participate?
* DX-Peditioning: Traveling and amateur radio from casual to extreme
* Moonbounce: How to use the moon as passive reflector for radio waves
* Satellite operations: Practical usage of satellite transponders and how to receive satellite telemetry
* Special topics on radio propagation
* Morse code—see details below

On many occasions we will connect to our campus amateur radio station from the class room and do experiments and demonstrations. On some selected topics we will also invite external visitors and leading experts in their field.

In doomsday Hollywood movies (e.g. Independence Day) as a last resort of communication, people start to use Morse code to get the message across. The reason for this is that Morse code is a globally understood code that uses, aside from the code itself, abbreviations that are independent of local languages and understood by radio amateurs worldwide. Morse code was inscripted as UNESCO world heritage in 2014 and is widely used among radio amateurs. Also Morse code is the most efficient operation mode with low power and/or over long distances without using computer-generated digital modes. As a fun activity, we will spend about 15 minutes each week learning Morse code from scratch.

Instructor Bio

Michael (Miki) Lustig is an Assistant Professor in EECS. He joined the faculty of the EECS Department at UC Berkeley in Spring 2010. He received his B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology in 2002. He received his Msc and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 2004 and 2008, respectively. His research focuses on medical imaging, particularly Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and very specifically, the application of compressed sensing to rapid and high-resolution MRI, MRI pulse sequence design, medical image reconstruction, inverse problems in medical imaging and sparse signal representation.

Faculty web site:

Michael Zuerch is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and joined the College of Chemistry in 2019. He and his team experimentally explore structural, carrier and spin dynamics in novel quantum materials, heterostructures and on surfaces and at interfaces to answer current questions in materials science and physical chemistry. In his research he is specifically interested in experimentally studying and controlling material properties on time scales down to the sub-femtosecond regime and on nanometer length scales to tackle challenging problems in quantum electronics, information storage and solar energy conversion. He is also a licensed radio operator since age 13 and has been active in the hobby ever since. His highlights in amateur radio include winning several world championships with the German national team. He also is holding the current world-record for the number radio contacts made during a radio expedition to remote places which he set as a team member in 2011 from Eastern Kiribati totaling more than 213.000 contacts in a bit over 3 weeks, many of which in morse code.

Faculty web site: