Classes : West Palm Beach Amateur Radio Group
West Palm Beach Amateur Radio Group
West Palm Beach Amateur Radio Group
Helping Hams and the Community Since the 1930's
W4HAW   •   WS4FSC   •   K4WPB   •   W4PBH
Dayton Hamvention International 2013 Club of the Year
Next Net:
D-STAR, Monday 7:00PM


                Classes Coming Soon

                • Digital Modes Workshop
                • Computer Controlled Radio Workshop
                • Basic Antennas Class
                • Hands On Radio Class
                • Radio in Condo / HOA Areas
                • D-Star Fundamentals Workshop

                Basic Electronics Class

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                Class Title: Basic Electronics Class

                Class Description: ARRL's Understanding Basic Electronics, second edition -- your gateway into the exciting world of electricity and electronics -- is written in a friendly, easy-to-understand style that beginners and nontechnical readers will enjoy. This introductory guide is ideal for students with basic math skills, as well as radio amateurs and experimenters interested in gaining a more complete understanding of basic electronic principles -- anyone eager to unlock the mysteries of electronic circuits.

                Contact Information: Mike Renz, KA1UDV

                Class Location:
                South Florida Science Center and Aquarium
                4801 Dreher Trail North
                West Palm Beach, FL 33405

                Class Schedule:
                To Be Announced - This is usually offered once a year

                Lesson 1
                Math & Calculator review (appendix B)
                Intro to DC circuits (chap 6 & 7)
                DC Lab, Ohm's law (chap 11 & 12)

                Lesson 2
                Scientific notation and Logarithms (appendix A & E)
                Serial and parallel DC circuits (chap 10)
                Power and decibels (Chap 13 & appendix E)
                Digital devices, circuits and logic gates (chap 26)

                Lesson 3
                Electronic components (chap 7 & 9)
                Inductors, capacitors, Q (chap 9)
                Transformers (chap 9 & 19)

                Lesson 4
                Electricity and magnetism (chap 8)
                AC circuits & components (chap 14-18)
                AC lab

                Lesson 5
                AC circuits continued (chap 17-19)
                Impedance (chap 20)
                Resonance (chap 21)

                Lesson 6
                Semiconductors (22 & 23)
                Rectifier circuits (chap 23)

                Lesson 7
                Bipolar transistors (chap 24)
                Field effect transistors (chap 25)

                Lesson 8
                Integrated circuits (chap 26)
                Operational amplifiers (chap 25)
                Miscellaneous topics (to be determined)

                MORSE CODE CLASS

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                Class Title - Morse Code Class

                Class Description: From out of the past and into the future! Morse Code (CW) is more popular than ever. All it took was for it not to be required. CW is great for QRP work, gets through when voice modes fail, has its' own parts of the bands, and lets Technicians work more of the HF bands. And that is just the beginning. Any way you do it CW is just plain FUN! We see that every day with the kids coming into the Science Museum who really love learning some Morse code. Compared to the static filled airwaves of the past and the scratchy records and distorted tapes many of us learned with, learning Morse Code and working CW is really a lot easier today. We have audio and video instructional material that is easy to hear and fun to learn with. Different techniques are used and presented since there is no one "right" way to learn this, so you will learn no matter how hard you used to think it was or how hard someone has told you it is. And you will have fun doing it. After all if it was not fun, Hams would not be doing it in record numbers.

                All classes feature audio and video presentations.
                Code will be taught in groups of different letters and numbers each week along with common words.
                We will be using speeds of 5 Words Per Minute and 15-20WPM. Teaching (and learning) will be at a minimum of 15WPM and may go a little higher as the cl;ass progresses. That may seem fast and hard to learn but 15WPM has been found to be the best minimum learning speed. The old way of learning at 5WPM and then going to 8WPM and then 10, 12 and finally 15 has been found to be ineffective. At 15-20WPM it is actually easier and faster to learn!

                You must supply your own key and oscillator or keyer. You can use a Straight Key, a Bug, or an Iambic Keyer (paddles). Remember an Iambic Keyer does not work with plain code oscillators but needs some electronic component to do the code generation, Many radios have built-in keyers that can be used with paddles in practice mode. For suppliers we recommend you look at the products on the MFJ website to see pictures and manuals to find what you need. For purchases our recommended vendor is Ham Radio Outlet in Atlanta If you call just ask for Mark and let him know you are calling about stuff for a class at the West Palm Beach Amateur Radio Group. (It probably won't get you a better price but he will talk nice to you.) Of course you can buy higher quality keys from Vibroplex and others for more money. Some are in the $100's so it just depends on what you want. We suggest you learn first and use second and then upgrade third.

                You will learn to send and receive Morse code, You will also get handout materials with links and schedules for practice, etc.

                For more details, fees, questions on specific keys, or any other information and to register, contact:
                Mike Renz, KA1UDV

                Class Location:
                South Florida Science Center and Aquarium
                4801 Dreher Trail North
                West Palm Beach, FL 33405

                Class Schedule:
                To Be Announced - This is offered 1 time per year

                EXTRA LICENSE CLASS

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                Class Title: Extra License Class

                Class Description: Reach the pinnacle of the Amateur Radio Community. Demonstrate your knowledge of the art of communication. Gain access to the exclusive areas of the bands where the DX stations like to frequent. Be able to upgrade your call to a 2x2 or a 1x2 or 2x1 for easier sending and letting everyone know your status. Realistically you can do almost everything as a General, but being an Extra puts you in that Elite Group that reaches the top level. You also learn a lot more about the electronics involved in our hobby and this helps you make better buying decisions both with your Ham equipment and every day electronics for the house. Get all the hobby has to offer.

                Note the class schedule posted below will depend on the progress of the class. It looks like a long time (and it is). We may finish sooner or later. There are about 2X as many questions in the Extra Class question pool as in the Tech or General. And with the exception of some self study items, like Rules and Regulations, we will cover them all. This does not mean there is 2X as much study material, but the material goes more in depth on most topics and this leads to more questions. The focus is on you learning the material not trying to learn just the Q&A. When you know the material the Q&A will become easy. The topic descriptions below may be updated but the content will be the same.

                Note in addition to one (or more) of the recommended study guides, you will also need a specific scientific calculator that we will teach and use in the class. It is about the most basic one there is so it is not too hard to learn or use and the cost is around $15. The recommended model for the class is the TI-30X IIS. Details are provided elsewhere on this page.

                To register contact Mike Renz, KA1UDV

                Class Location:
                South Florida Science Center and Aquarium
                4801 Dreher Trail North
                West Palm Beach, FL 33405

                Class Schedule:
                To Be Announced - This is usually offered 1 time per year
                This class starts Jan 10th, 2015

                Recommended text - Gordon West Extra Class Manual

                Classes will start as close to 10AM as possible and there will be one 10-15 minute break in the middle. There is a different class that will be starting at 2PM so we need to start and finish on time.

                This is approximately what will be covered in each class. There may be some overlap from one week to the next if we do not get through the material in that week. If needed we will add an additional session to cover the material.

                Lesson 1: Intro & Space & Video Communications
                Lesson 2: Propagation & Basic Radio Math (Requires TI-30X IIS Scientific Calculator) The calculator will be used in many class sessions.
                Lesson 3: Components & Circuits
                Lesson 4: Transmitters
                Lesson 5: Receivers
                Lesson 6: Oscillators & Synthesizers
                Lesson 7: Amplifiers & Power Supplies
                Lesson 8: Resonance & Circuits
                Lesson 9: Solid State Basics
                Lesson 10: Digital Modes & Computers
                Lesson 11: Test Equipment
                Lesson 12: Antennas
                Lesson 13: Coax & Safety
                Lesson 14: Final Review & Exam Session


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                Class Title: Technician License Class

                Class Description: Discover the excitement of ham radio. The Amateur Radio Service offers a unique mix of public service, technology and experimenting with electronics. All with an emphasis on fun. Some hams use their skills to provide communications during emergencies and disasters when all else fails. Others enjoy talking to people across the country, around the globe or astronauts in space, some participate in local contests and building experiments.

                No Prior Radio or Electronics Experience Required.
                We teach you what you need to know with Audio, Video and Hands-On in a lively class room setting.
                No Morse Code is Required.
                You must purchase (or borrow) and study a current License Study Manual as detailed on this page (for the July 2014 to June 2018 exams). It will also be helpful to have a calculator. The math is mostly simple arithmetic with a few squares and square roots. You can use a calculator you already have or get the calculator listed on this page. (It will be useful for higher level license classes also). We will not go into detail on other functions of the calculator in this class since it is just basic stuff that is being done.

                To register or for questions, contact: Mike Renz, KA1UDV at

                Class Location:
                South Florida Science Center and Aquarium
                4801 Dreher Trail North
                West Palm Beach, FL 33405

                Class Schedule:
                To Be Announced - Usually offered 3-4 times per year

                Recommended Text - Gordon West Technician Class Manual

                This is approximately what will be covered in each class. There may be some overlap from one week to the next if we do not get through the material in that week. We do cover all the questions and answers in the exam pool from which the 35 that will be on your exam are selected from.

                Lesson 1: Welcome to Amateur Radio
                Lesson 2: FCC Rules & Technician Class Operations
                Lesson 3: Basic Electronics Principles
                Lesson 4: Basic Radio Principles
                Lesson 5: Basic Antennas
                Lesson 6: Operating Your Station
                Lesson 7: AC & RF & Safety
                Lesson 8: Final Review & Exam Session


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                Recommended textbooks for the Licensing Classes:

                ARRL Licensing Manuals and / or Gordon West's Licensing Study Manuals

                Make sure you get the ones that are for the current tests. The tests are changed every few years with old material removed and new material added.
                The old books are still being sold on Amazon and elsewhere. Both companies books may be ordered from their publishers ( or or from Amazon via the link on the clubs' homepage by just typing "Ham Radio Manuals" in the search box.

                The ISBN for each book may also be used to search: (note this is the short ISBN)
                ARRL - Ham Radio License Manual - 1625950136
                ARRL - General License Manual - 087259811X
                ARRL - Extra License Manual - 087259517X
                Gordon West - Technician Class - 0945053797
                Gordon West - General Class - 0945053657
                Gordon West - Extra Class - 0945053746

                We suggest you look at both books on Amazon and use the "Look Inside" feature they have to see how the books are laid out and the material is covered. Be sure to use the "Surprise Me" feature a few times to see various pages of inside content. You can also read the customer reviews and see what others thought.

                In general the ARRL books have more text and explanations and theory and relate it to questions on the test. And have a list of the Q&A by topic at the back of the Book. They also come with some practice exams on CD with the book. But they are not tightly integrated. We recommended using online Practice Exams and will give details on that in the first class session.

                The Gordon West book focuses more on the Questions and Answers on the test in a revised sequence and then explains the theory of why an answer is right with each answer. Sometimes it is just a one or two line explanation and others are several paragraphs. It has more illustration than the ARRL book and comes with an audio CD of what you will hear on the bands each licensing class covers.

                The Gordon West book is aimed more at passing the test and the ARRL book is more useful after the test as a reference. You can get either one and fully participate in the class and pass the test. Some people get both books since they like the different approach of each book. At this time we do not sell the books. You should have a book first and read the material for the first lesson before attending. Those who sign up will be sent an email telling them what pages to read in each book before the first class.

                The classes may not follow exactly with either book. The order of material presented is what we have found works best. It is closer to the order in the Gordon West books but not exactly the same. Additional material is presented in class that does not appear in either book to explain the topics better.

                You must have at least one of these books to study. They will be referenced in the class by page numbers to correspond with what is being taught. This is not just a review and memorization of the questions and answers type of class. We do cover every question on the test but we spend more time explaining things so you will know why an answer is right and understand the information to make it easier to pass the test and get the most out of your new license.

                If you have any questions about other books (and there are many other books out there) send an email to to see if they could be used.

                Recommended textbook for the Basic Electronics Class:

                The ARRL "Understanding Basic Electronics, Second Edition" book is what is used as the foundation for this class. It is not followed exactly but does cover the core material presented in the class. It is part of a 3 book series from the ARRL that also includes Basic Radio and Basic Antennas and sometimes you save money by getting the 3 book set if you want to further your studies. The ISBN is 9780872590823 and this can be ordered direct from ARRL or from Amazon as noted above.


                The only supplies you may need will be paper and pens/pencils to take notes with or to make notes in your books. Some students use a highlighter to indicate sections they find important or difficult to make reviewing them easier. Some highlight the correct answers to make reviewing those easier.

                Recommended calculator for all classes:

                You can use a calculator in taking all the tests (and it is highly recommended) and working out problems in the Basic Electronics class. The math in the Technician class is pretty simple but it gets harder from there. The recommended calculator is the Texas Instruments TI-30X-IIS Scientific Calculator. These are available a lot of places like Wal-Mart, Office Depot, Staples, Amazon, etc. They cost less than $15 and are even available in a variety of colors! This is not the most sophisticated scientific calculator by a long way but it does all the functions needed for Amateur Radio and Electronics that you would use a calculator for instead of a computer. Computers are not permitted on the tests nor are programmable calculators that you can program the problems and answers in. If you have one of those, the VE testers have to erase the memories first.

                This calculator does not do (x-y) Tables and Complex Numbers (like negative imaginary numbers). There are Complex Numbers in the Extra Class material but you can get the answers for the test with this calculator. A slightly more expensive (+$3-4) TI model does this (the TI-36X PRO) as do some other brands. But they are also more complex to use and your would probably use a computer to do these calculations in normal use. High School students usually have to buy Graphing Calculators and Programmable Calculators in the $150+ range. But we do not delve into areas of math that do not involve electronics and Ham Radio. For more complex mathematics we use computer programs to just give us the answer when needed. That is not needed for most Amateur Radio activities, but if you want to get into designing your circuits and parts from the the ground up that is what is used.

                You can use a more sophisticated calculator in the classes, if you have one. But the TI-30X IIS is the only one we have instructions for and use in teaching. So we can not help you with other models.

                Food and Beverages:

                There is no vending at the class site. There is a Mini SubWay in the Museum. We usually supply some cookies for the mid session beak but you should bring your own water or soda or coffee as desired. (The prices for drinks at the SubWay are a little on the high side.)


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                Class Title - General License Class:

                Class Description: Upgrade your license to the next level. The General Class License opens up most of the exciting world of HF (3-30Mhz) and the "Top Band" of 160 Meters in the Medium Frequency range. Work more DX and get QSL's from all over the world. Easily work the lower 48 states and finally add Alaska and Hawaii to your logbook. Explore the full range of Digital Modes with signals that travel cross country and across the world. Get on the air anytime of the day or night and make contacts. Participate in high volume contests or work special event stations and get beautiful QSL's or certificates and awards. Get the ARRL DXCC Award. Participate in traffic nets and a whole host of special purpose nets. Work the world from your tower top or roof top or your condo patio or window. There is a whole world of excitement available to you with a General Class License.

                Contact Information: Mike Renz, KA1UDV

                Class Location:
                South Florida Science Center and Aquarium
                4801 Dreher Trail North
                West Palm Beach, FL 33405

                Class Schedule:
                To Be Announced - This is usually offered 2 times per year

                Recommended text - Gordon West General Class Manual

                Lesson 1: Radio Signals and Equipment
                Lesson 2: Procedures and Practices
                Lesson 3: Components and Circuits
                Lesson 4: Rules and Regulations
                Lesson 5: Propagation
                Lesson 6: Grounds, Antennas and Coax
                Lesson 7: Electrical and RF Safety
                Lesson 8: Final Review and Exam Session