Class Projects

Not being a pedagogical genius, it never really occurred to me until last year to give my General Class students a project to work on while we slogged through the material. Last year, some of them built little QRP kits. Not only was that fun, it was educational.

This year, I’m again asking them to do some kind of project, but one that they choose themselves. Here’s the short list that I came up with:

  • Build a 2m beam. At our first meeting, one of the guys noted that while he could hear a repeater about 30 miles away from his QTH, he wasn’t able to hit it with the 5/8-wavelength vertical he was using. I suggest that he build a Cheap Yagi.
  • Build a kit like the students did last year.
  • Download some antenna simulation software and analyze a dipole or vertical antenna. MM-ANA is free and looks to be a pretty good program.
  • Learn Morse Code. How could I not suggest this? :)

Anyway, do you have any other suggestions?


  1. Hands down the most useful and most successful projects I’ve built have been 2m J-poles. I’ve built both the 1/2″ copper tubing and TV line variants, and use both as my primary antennas. The TV line one is nice because I live in an apartment, so when I need a good antenna, I tie a magnet to the top of it and stick it to my upstair neighbor’s balcony. It’s a very forgiving antenna.

    I’m curious what the success rate was with the kits. Did you have an antenna setup to test them with? I’ve tried building one, but didn’t have another rig at the time to tell if it was the kit or the antenna or the band that was dead…

  2. John N8ZYA says:

    I like the last option….it’s like learning to play the guitar or piano.
    A skill that can be used your entire lifetime!

  3. You didn’t mention the age group/groups you are working with but have you thought about a hands on project such as a j-pole for 2 or 6 meters. It would be a chore to maintain safety with the silver soldering and other aspects of the project but it would give them an opportunity to feel the pride that follows an involved project. Further, the j-pole is a pretty good antenna.
    By the way I recently started getting the KB6NU rss feed for my forum and it looks great. Keep up the good work.

  4. Robert Gulley says:

    Hi Dan
    How about building a 20 meter delta loop? I am very inexperienced when it comes to antenna building, but a friend suggested this for working DX on 20 meters and it worked out really well. In fact, my first contact on it was Spain!

    Just a thought –

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