Let’s Publish a Study Guide for Kids

At a concert Sunday afternoon, I ran into a guy who was in one of my One-Day Tech Classes. He’s really gotten bit by the ham radio bug, and he told me that his ten-year-old daughter has shown some interest, too. He went on to say that he tried using my study guide, but that it was just too dry for his daughter. She needed more explanation.

Well, that comment, and my recent posting about The Manga Guide to Electricity, got me thinking that if we really wanted kids to get into ham radio, then we need to write something like The Manga Guide to Ham Radio.

The thought of doing this both excites me and dismays me. It excites me because I think it—or something like it—would be the perfect way to get more kids interested in ham radio. It dismays me because I’m not sure that I know enough about manga, or about how to write something for kids, to actually pull this off.

Having said all that, anyone want to help me do this?


  1. Dan, I love the idea! I have a couple of young children interested, but the available study materials can’t hold their interests. I’m horrible at writing, so I’m not sure if I could be much help, but I’d be willing to try to help in whatever way I can.


  2. Dan:

    What you propose is excellent, but as you probably know from preparing your own Study Guide, this is a VERY intense project you’re talking about. I fully understand (as a teacher, more than most) what it takes to keep kids interested. I’ve thought that it would be neat to prepare a class that focused on the beginning of electricity’s “discovery” through modern radio. The hook would be to do projects that demonstrate the principles “discovered”. Build a battery. Play with magnetism. Create an oscillator, Build a receiver (crystal radio). Build a transmitter. And so forth. When I ask ham friends about such a course, they say, “Oh, we could do that, no problem.” But, getting the schematics and materials list is where it goes down the tubes. You just can’t get people to “DO IT”. I assure you that kids love hands on stuff (who doesn’t?). If a course (or course book like this might become) were to involve both information and ways to experience it, you’d have a winner. The reason I’ve always thought about this type of book/course is that it allows a beginning ham to go from zero to “the moon”. I mean, once you have an understanding of simple transmitters/receivers, then you just keep going up to harder projects that demonstrate more complicated ideas.

    If you would want to collaborate or share ideas on putting together an outline of ideas and projects, I would be willing to brainstorm with you. Oh, and I requested a copy of the “Manga Guide to Electricity”. If it is as good at explaining the ideas as it possibly appears to be, half our work might be done. All we’d have to do is incorporate projects to reinforce the text.

    Well, I applaud you for pushing the envelope in Amateur Radio. You are definitely not the guys I usually see that are happy to do nothing and then talk about why nothing gets done. Keep the ideas and articles coming on the blog.


    Ronny, KC5EES
    Austin, Texas

  3. TJ, NS2E says:

    There was a book, “Riding the Airwaves With Alpha and Zulu” by John Abbott that I picked up a long time ago for my, then, young kids (like.. 6 & 9, now 18 & 21)… My wife and I were working on our code element then so our listening to tapes, the kids picked up Morse also.. they remember a little of it now.. but the book was great, cartoonish, but still good for young kids then.. It was for two to three tests groups ago, so it’s quite stale for any use now, too bad, ’cause I liked it..

    TJ, NS2E

  4. EmmaPeel says:

    I think this is a wonderful idea. My 10 year old daughter has been studying and failed her test last night. She has such a hard time with the words well above her reading level. I understand the involvement this would take to make it happen. The place to start may be to contact John Abbott to get his input since he’s done it already.

  5. This would be a great idea, I have a kid that is 9 and she is showing interest in the test also.

  6. I am looking for material to use with kids and teens. My son (KD0POO) who is 12, would like to have some kids to enjoy the hobby with so I am working on a subdivision of our local club for kids. I also have a 7 year old daughter that I would love to see learn a thing or two about the hobby. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated.


    Daniel – KD0POP

  7. Hi,

    I was just wondering if any progress had been made on this. I am looking for resources to teach my kids more about this hobby and they both already love comics and manga so this would be ideal.

    Tim, KK4JRN

  8. Dan KB6NU says:

    Unfortunately, no, there hasn’t been any progress on this. I haven’t been able to find either someone knowledgeable about children’s books or an illustrator to work on this.

  9. Perhaps this could be done in a digital movie format in sections? Adobe Flash, easy cartoons and text, audio, etc… If it were done well, I’d pay for it to help my 7 year old get her license, she’s very interested, but has a hard time keeping attention to dry material.

    Artistically it doesn’t have to be special to be effective. something very very basic like “South Park” style animation would work wonders.

  10. I ran onto this blog while trying to find a kid friendly resource for the new Tech exam. Has any progress been made or does anyone know of another resource? I have a 10yr old boy that is VERY interested, but the current study guides can’t hold his attention (basically it flies over him and starts “melting” together). Thanks KC5VGP

    • Dan KB6NU says:

      There still isn’t a study guide for kids, at least not one that I know of. I think the problem is that doing something like this just takes so much time, and it’s more difficult writing something for kids than it is adults. I’d suggest getting your son a copy of the Manga Guide for Electricity and see how he does with that. Then, you could introduce him to amateur radio topics.

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