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Midterms: 2/24, 3/24, 4/28
Final: 5/12 (section 101), 5/9 (section 102)



Amateur Radio Licenses

Students may receive full credit for up to three final exam problems if they hold a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued amateur radio license at the start time of the final exam. These are sometimes called ham radio licenses. Students receive credit for one problem if they hold a technician class license, two problems for a general class license, and three problems for an amateur extra class license. Students must prove they hold the license by either supplying their FCC issued call sign, or else a photocopy of the certificate issued by the examination body. This certificate will need to be signed by the three ham radio operators who supervised the exam.

This class will not fully prepare students to take the license exams. There are a number of free, and fee-based, web sites to help people prepare for ham radio exams. One of the free sites is:

Once students feel prepared to take the ham radio exam, they should obtain a Federal Registration Number (FRN) from the FCC. These can be obtained for free from the government using the web page:

The FCC does not administer ham radio exams, and will not be offered as part of the EE 3430 class. There are a number of volunteer organizations which provide the exams. Some organizations will provide the exams for free, while others charge a modest fee to cover their expenses (typically under $20). Do not use a service that charges a substantial fee, as that is a violation of FCC rules, and suggests the organization may not be legitimate. The S&T Amateur Radio Club is one of the groups that often offer examinations at no charge. The dates and times of their examinations will be place on the class Canvas web page calendar.

To help reduce the 31 trillion dollar federal deficit, the FCC is now charging a $35 for issuing your first ham radio license. There is no charge for upgrading your license from say a technician to general. You may wish to talk your friends and neighbors into getting ham radio licenses, as once a trillion people get these licenses, the federal government should be debt-free.

The exams are multiple-choice, and the set of all possible questions is available from the FCC, and other web sites like this one:

S&T has a student amateur radio club. They have students who can assist you with studying for, and taking the exams. For more information, you may contact the club by email at: Please note that the second character in that email address is the numeral zero, not the letter that comes between N and P.

In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that I have an amateur radio license (call sign K0SBR), and am the faculty advisor to the S&T amateur radio club. EE 3430 students are not required to use the club services to take their ham exams, are not required to be a member or participate in club activities, and receive no academic credit for club membership or participation.

Open Source Matlab Equivalent

This class will sometimes use the Matlab software package, however it will be possible to work enough problems to still obtain an A grade, without using Matlab.

If you wish to use Matlab, you can find it on many university computers. You may also wish to consider purchasing a copy of Matlab to use on your personal computer. The Matlab and Simulink Student Suite, available for about $100, will run all the scripts used in this class.

If you prefer free and open-source software, there are packages that have the goal of being compatible with Matlab. One of these is the GNU Octave package. It runs on Windows, iOS and Linux machines, and is reasonably easy to install. The user interface is not as polished as Matlab's, and it does not have some of the more advanced features like Simulink. However, Octave should easily run all of the scripts needed for this class.

Here are some installation directions for GNU Octave:

  1. Go to the web page Click on the blue "Download" button. Click on the gray tab that corresponds to the operating system you are using. I'm running it on a laptop running Windows 10, so I clicked the gray "Windows" tab. Select the best version. I went to the "Windows-64 (recommended)" list and downloaded "octave-6.1.0-w64-installer.exe (~ 300 MB)"
  2. After the installer.exe file was downloaded, I ran it in the same way as any other Windows 10 program, and eventually got an icon on my desktop for Octave. Double-clicking on that started Octave.
  3. For some of the scripts in this class, you will need the Octave control and signal packages. These are not part of the standard Octave install, but are freely available. If you want to see the list of all packages, go to the sourceforge web site You don't have to look at the sourceforge web site, as it is possible to download, install, and load the packages from the Octave command window, as described below.
  4. Start Octave, and go to the Command Window. You should see a >> prompt.
  5. Download and install the control package. You can do this from the Command Window. At the >> prompt enter

    >> pkg install -forge control

  6. Wait while Octave goes out to the internet, downloads the file, and installs it. This took several minutes on my laptop at home, but I have a slow internet connection, and firewall and virus detection software that looks over everything I download. In the Octave Command Window I saw two identical warning messages about LFLAGS. Eventually the Command Window gave me a message that started "For information about changes ..." and I got the >> prompt again.
  7. Download and install the signal package, with the command

    > pkg install -forge signal
    This went faster for me, and generated no warnings.
  8. Even though both packages are now "installed", you can't use them until they are "loaded". There are two ways to load them. In the Command Window, you can enter the following two commands:

    >> pkg load control
    >> pkg load signal

    While that's pretty easy, you will have to remember to do it each time you start Octave. I found it easier to put the commands in Octave's configuration file, which is executed every time Octave is started. To do this, in the Octave Command Window enter

    > edit '~/.octaverc'

    Notice that the command has two single quotes, a tilde, and a period that all must be entered exactly as typed. If Octave tells you the file does not exist, and asks you if you want to create it, pick YES. Enter the following two lines in that file

    pkg load control
    pkg load signal

    Close the editor, again picking YES if Octave asks you if you want to save changes.
  9. Close the Octave program, and re-start it. To see if the signal toolbox is installed, type

    >> help butter

    If you see comments about how this command designs a Butterworth filter, you are good to go. If you see error messages about how the command is not defined, not installed, or not loaded, something went wrong.
If you find a script that Octave will not run, please let me know.

Matlab Scripts

Experimental Web Pages

Fourier Transform Summary

EE 3431 Lab