SARA Mathematic Reference

SARA Science & Mathematics Reference ~ last update: 03 Jan 2023

SARA's Science & Mathematics Reference

Shiawassee Amateur Radio Association presents some Science & Mathematics Reference Information which we hope is useful to our viewers. Mathematics is one of the most important 'human endeavor' tools used to gain a higher understanding of real-world physics. From simple counting, then geometry, trigonometry, and on into complex differential equation solving. Most people learn counting and progresses through adding, subtraction, multiplying and division (usually by the 5th grade in school). The additional learning of various advanced mathematical steps can be added by using small logical steps and leads into the ability to predict a 'future state' with very high accuracy. The ability is very powerful and can seem to be difficult to master. A good understanding of the mathematical language used is really a requirement in today's world. 'Requirement' is not an understatement for today. Computers, cameras, communication systems, construction, mechanics, cooking, and all other human activities are made easier with the math thrown-in. Start learning and using in small steps using the language of mathematics is the secret of quick, concise communication of these advanced concepts. The better you know the mathematical language, the easier it becomes to discuss and communicate with others in a concise manner on the complete set experiences you will encounter.

Using computers for efficient mathematical solutions, leads quickly to "Spreadsheet" Programs and other more specific computer programs. Using a "Windows system" (an example), the first program is usually is Microsoft Excel, but that requires a purchase. It is part of the Microsoft Office program set, so many have and use it. But others are set back by the cost. There are 'other routes' to be investigated, gong for the free route, look for some freeware spreadsheet programs. We suggest you review some starting here. All are fully functional, free programs, so what do you have to lose?

This list is NOT a complete list of all you can find, just a small sample. There are many 'free' spreadsheet programs for you to choose from. All operate based on similar concepts, so pick one and dive on in. Note these are all 'Windows Type' products, Apple and Linux have programs available also --> just go internet searching for spreadsheet and look for the operating system of your choice!

SARA has an Electronics Reference Pages for basic Frequency & Wave-Length; Capacitance & Inductance with Reactance; and Resonance basic information that you may wish to check out. If / When you get ready, buy a Raspberry Pi [RPi] micro-computer and use the Mathematica program (it comes free on a RPi). It is a simple to learn computer program that can do amazingly complex mathematics! You should check it out. Follow the link. You can get Linux, Apple, and Windows Mathematica versions for a large computer, but costs are much larger than a RPi (think 'hundreds' of dollars for the program alone). This one program makes a RPi a requirement for a modern home.

Math for Hams does not need to get into difficult and complex operations, but some math can go a long way towards solving common ham problems. Checkout a 'DX Engineering' article for basic mathematics for hams. Brushing Up On Basic Math / Calculator Tools (DX Engineering).

Here we attempt to provide a quick connection to various math equations and constants for your use on this page. Actually, it is one of the 'memory jogger' locations to hold many various concepts in a single location for quick reference. The usage of computers in the 'ham shack', on the electronics workbench, in the computer shop/lab and at a couple of 'desk' locations at a residence are the norm of today. When working on various projects, they have become a 'much needed' unit in each of these living areas. Having the computers connected through a home server just to make things easy ~ everything is available everywhere in a home and all internet connected. A couple of inexpensive RPi units running in a GUI server environment as the active terminal on the workbenches (about $100 each), but what a way to find needed information and update the inventory list(s) from any position in the residence. The ordering, stocking and tracking the stuff needed for project at any location is a very good benefit. Keep the status organized and current when various projects are being worked on, is a good usage of your computers. Follow the project status with computer notes and pictures keep the various projects advance and provides a historical record after the project is completed. Some projects can and do span multiple years, when it is decided to make changes, the stored data is priceless. There can be literally tons of information stored on a good local network. In today's world the computer has passed from a 'wanted' to a 'required' item in most households. They have become interwoven into most ham radio efforts and add to the enjoyment of this vast 'Ham Radio' hobby. Mathematics must be interwoven into the complete mental process of modern mankind and is essential in understanding the complexity of it all that can be explained.

Raspberry PI - MATHEMATICA - Arduino

If you buy a Raspberry Pi [RPi] microcomputer you gain a software program called 'Mathematica' from Wolfram Aplha. It is free in the RPi operating system. The Microsoft Windows version is about $600.00 and there are versions for Linux and Apple (also pricey). Also, the Arduino microcontoller has the ability to do direct input/output into Mathematica. This is usually more powerful then using spreadsheets ,but you can add them into the mix and use them all. Together they can add to your mathematical skills and understanding.

Mathematica is a very strong program for doing advanced mathematics. You can directly enter algebraic expressions and the program will 'solve' them for you. It is great for simple and advanced math. The RPi and Arduino platforms are very inexpensive making them great for you own usage.

for additional information and do some internet searching.

Some General Comment on Mathematics

Modern educated man uses Mathematics (math) and calculations to describe his world and how everything interacts. Thus from very early times, say 1000 BC (and much earlier) ~ say like making pyramids or something similar like early detailed calendars. Mankind has defined the methods used for counting and quantification and an understanding of his complete world (and defining his universe). The proper usage and defined calculation methods are important for all mankind! Mathematics is used internationally to quickly and precisely convey information between people. It is used to explain how things work together, from very simple to extremely complex interactions. When properly used it explains how a current state/condition evolved from previous states and how/when the current state will evolve into some future state. It does this with known and well defined accurate and precise levels. I find it hard to believe that today's schools do not inform students of how very important mathematics is to everyone's life. In my opinion, 'schools do not explain and make students understand the proper usage of math'. It is an area of really misunderstood issue(s). Teachers let students avoid the topic because of an attitude that "it is so hard and difficult to understand - so we will just skip it" (or perhaps the teacher's lack ability to explain the correct details). The mathematical basics are NOT complex or difficult, the schools need better instructors and need to focus more on what really is required to be taught correctly. Careful explanations and proper importance placed on learning mathematical skills is a real-life requirement. Simple counting is not 'beyond the understanding of a person' (children at age two have the skill developed). It is not 'okay' to ignore society's needs to higher math skills, just because the path may be difficult to teach. Many people today cannot calculate change without the use of a computer/calculator... why is that accepted as 'okay'? {All right let me step off the soap box, but I am not sorry.} We are doing a major error in accepting this behavior on a social level. Recent dropping of student's STEM scores show a trend of 'lacking knowledge' in training moving students to lower levels - this is just not acceptable. Society needs improvement in these student skills as our future problem solving skills become more complex!

Be advised mastering mathematical basics is not difficult. At any step, you need to understand exactly what basic item (thought) you are missing and fix it (learn), then things will become clear and simple to understand (building your knowledge in small steps). If you watch for the 'step behind the thought' and then project logic unto the 'next step' - you can master any mathematical challenge, it just takes paying attention as you go along. Do not fear approaching some learning issue because of a small mathematical concept you need to understand. Mathematics is always simple and applied logically and you only need the proper background (previous math topics) to move logically to the 'next step'. Some low level of mathematics understanding is required for a ham license, but many 8~10 year old students do it without strain and have licenses, you can to. Simple multiplication and division suffice at the operational level (okay some squaring and square roots can be brought into play) for a ham license. Just try to understand where is your knowledge lacking and set out to learn that "missing" step. As you advance in electronics the math requirements grow and depending on your needs may lead into more complex concepts (trigonometric, geometric and 'complex' math concepts), but they really can be mastered with very little effort and a little practice. PLEASE checkout the YouTube videos from 3Blue1Brown they have video series that make the higher levels of math seem simple and teach Math in a very nice step-by-step format. Great for a review on a topic ~ remember "search" tools on a computer are your great friends. These free videos proceed from simple beginnings on to some of the highly complex mathematics concepts and allow you to slow learning down and learn some very deep thoughts on mathematical theory. Give them a shot. There are many, many videos from some extremely good teachers.

The internet provides a wealth of capabilities for information storage and retrieval. It can be a very useful training tool for learning mathematics and logical concepts . It is a great source to extend beyond what we have collected here. Check the reference pages used on the RF Cafe's web site for Mathematics References. I also use 'Wikipedia' for details on specific topics - use a simple read and understanding path.

You can review and learn from sites like: Interactive Mathematics - Mathematics Lessons from simple concepts to Calculus. This is a great place for reviewing mathematical concepts when you get stuck.

Another free online math place is DESMOS Math Calculator. You can plot all kinds of math stuff and make art shapes. It can consume lots of time, but the beauty behind math can be played around with and it is amazing! You really have no limits on learning and using mathematics to it's fullest capabilities. You did catch that "free" word in there - right? It just requires time and patience. Learning more math will lead to your ability understand and converse with others on detailed topics physics topics (radio and electronics being major areas).

Ham Radio Math ~ What is actual minimum needed for a Ham license? We start with converting units and determining basic interactions - very basic Algebra {Example: feet or meters to inches, frequencies to wavelengths,.} Add some simple linear Algebra using Ohm's Law relationships, current requirements Vs wire sizes, electrical energy to heat or radiated power, etc.}. We then need to learn to make measurements (record those numbers) and use them to understand a 'system wide' examination of our circumstance, apply some physics and gain a solution and understanding our particular situation. We add in some 'Complex Number Theory' (which are not complex to use) and some simple trigonometry, for doing alternating current applications and waveforms. All of these are simple logic and number crunching. We may need some trigonometry for understanding R.F. concepts (it is just understanding triangles and extends into "space concepts"), we stop before getting into the deep end of the math pool, but these should not cause you any fear. Later, we throw in a few simple algebra tricks and we will complete the required minimum mathematics for all of ham radio and you will swimming with all the big math sharks - no problem! That is a 'full requirement' to get your Amateur Extra Class license. Just do not stress about it and learn to enjoy your journey! Let it be part of your really enjoyable hobby. If (when) you start adding in some computer details, Matrix Algebra may add additional concepts to master, but lets not go there just yet.

An understanding of logarithms and scientific notation will be required. These allow for "scaling" from very, very large to very, very small numerical values in an understandable 'scalable' way. This is one of those 'hidden keys' to understanding real world physics and the way things get measured. In today's world there are just a 'few' defined constants, then everything you measure can be expressed in units of those constants. With the 2019 redefinition, the SI system is constructed around just seven defining constants, allowing all other units to be constructed directly from these constants.

So the seven defined (exact value) constants are now {post 20 May 2019}: the Planck constant (h), the elementary electric charge (e), the Boltzmann constant (kB), the Avogadro constant (NA), the second, metre, and candela. All of the SI base units have been defined in terms of physical constants. As a result, five constants: the speed of light in vacuum, c; the Planck constant, h; the elementary charge, e; the Avogadro constant, NA; and the Boltzmann constant, kB, now have known exact numerical values when expressed in SI units. The first three of these constants are fundamental constants, whereas NA and kB are of a technical nature only: they do not describe any property of the universe, but instead only give a proportionality factor for defining the units used with large numbers of atomic-scale entities. They no longer have values based on physical measurements. An example is The speed of light c is exactly equal to 299,792,458 metres per second (approximately 300,000 kilometres per second; 186,000 miles per second; 671 million miles per hour). This is the speed of EM radiation in a vacuum (light just being EM at different frequencies than radio communication).

Decimal Equivalents (& Drill Sizes)

Not necessarily a math issue but a great aid in the conversion of fractions of an inch to decimals (same value conversion process as drill sizes). Seems like I am always looking for these in the shop and it takes me a long time (three or four minutes) to find the charted information (or lost seconds doing a couple of calculations), so I put these here for my personal use! ~ less than 30 seconds when I need them and a 'no brainer'. The data works for many purposes, so lets share it here. The 'Number' & 'Letter' sized drill bit table fills a such a dual purpose. I know I can now quickly find the information at any time - ENJOY. We will then start the real math work stuff below. Oh, did I say that computers seem to be 'everywhere' in my home now... in the kitchen appliances, television, ham shack, workshop, kitchen, office, etc. ~ I remember when having a single computer was a very big luxury in the home (I am now in the 'teens' for a quick count). Now (2023), literally every teenager has a cell phone which includes a camera and a very powerful computer ~ shades of Dick Tracey (younger users can search for him on the internet). Computers are used for searching everywhere / everything topics in real time and it is just a standard part of a modern life. They added 'voice control' so no typing is required ~ truly the great information age is now!

Fractions & Decimals

Fraction sizes and the rational number equivalent chart.

Fraction Decimal Fraction Decimal Fraction Decimal Fraction Decimal

1/64 0.0156 17/64 0.2656 33/64 0.5156 49/64 0.7556
1/32 0.0313 9/32 0.2812 17/32 0.5312 25/32 0.7812
3/64 0.0469 19/64 0.2968 35/64 0.5496 51/64 0.7969
1/16 0.0625 5/16 0.3125 9/16 0.5625
13/16 0.7969
5/64 0.0781 21/64 0.3281 37/64 0.5781
53/64 0.8281

3/32 0.0937 11/32 0.3437 19/32 0.5937 27/32 0.8437

7/64 0.1094 23/64 0.3594 39/64 0.6094 55/64 0.8594

1/8 0.1250 3/8 0.3750 5/8 0.6250 7/8 0.8750

9/64 0.1406 25/64 0.3906 41/64 0.6406 57/64 0.8906

5/32 0.1562 13/32 0.4062 21/32 0.6562 29/32 0.9062
11/64 0.1719 27/64 0.4219 43/64 0.6719
59/64 0.9219
3/16 0.1875 7/16 0.4375 11/16 0.6875
15/16 0.9375

13/64 0.2031 29/64 0.4531 45/64 0.7031 61/64 0.9531
7/32 0.2187 15/32 0.4687 23/32 0.7187
31/32 0.9687
15/64 0.2344 31/64 0.4844 47/64 0.7344
63/64 0.9844
1/4 0.250 1/2 0.5000 3/4 0.7500 1 1.0000

Numbered and Letter Size ANSI Drill Bit Chart

Drill # Decimal Drill # Decimal Drill # Decimal Drill Decimal

Fraction Fraction Fraction Letter Fraction

80 0.0135 53 0.0595 26 0.147 A 0.234

79 0.0145 52 0.0635 25 0.1495 B 0.238

78 0.016 51 0.067 24 0.152 C 0.242

77 0.018 50 0.070 23 0.154 D 0.246

76 0.020 49 0.073 22 0.157 E 0.250

75 0.021 48 0.076 21 0.159 F 0.257

74 0.0225 47 0.0785 20 0.161 G 0.261

73 0.024 46 0.081 19 0.166 H 0.266

72 0.025 45 0.082 18 0.1695 I 0.272

71 0.0265 44 0.086 17 0.173 J 0.277

70 0.028 43 0.089 16 0.177 K 0.281

69 0.0292 42 0.0935 15 0.180 L 0.290

68 0.031 41 0.096 14 0.182 M 0.295

67 0.032 40 0.980 13 0.185 N 0.302

66 0.033 39 0.0995 12 0.189 O 0.316

65 0.035 38 0.1015 11 0.191 P 0.323

64 0.036 37 0.104 10 0.1935 Q 0.332

63 0.037 36 0.1065 9 0.196 R 0.339

62 0.038 35 0.110 8 0.199 S 0.348

61 0.039 34 0.111 7 0.201 T 0.358

60 0.040 33 0.113 6 0.204 U 0.368

59 0.041 32 0.116 5 0.2055 V 0.377

58 0.042 31 0.120 4 0.209 W 0.386

57 0.043 30 0.1285 3 0.213 X 0.397

56 0.0465 29 0.136 2 0.221 Y 0.404

55 0.052 28 0.1405 1 0.228 Z 0.413

54 0.055 27 0.144

Numbers / Numbering

We teach toddlers their numbers at an early age (integers are used for basic counting). Then later we teach other "types of numbers" and the basics {bases} of "number systems". The theory of "Sets", a grouping of numbers is concept that should be mastered. Seldom do we chart out the modern number system "types of numbers" to assist us in our learning, so to provide a summary chart, try a 'Wikipedia' search for 'number systems'. That provides a very nice chart showing 18 types of 'number classification'. You should understand each of these 'number classification'. Each has a specific definition (meaning) and the chart shows the relationship on how numbers are grouped into various 'sets of numbers'. This concept is usually not presented to a student in a complete view, it is shared as each individual piece is brought forward in teaching mathematics. I think this actually slows down the student's progress. It becomes important to know: odd-even; rational-irrational; real-imaginary-complex; etc. Math characteristics of each type leads to specific methods to handle computations.

It is very 'unfortunate' that the names of 'complex' and 'imaginary' types are so named. They are NOT complex or imaginary. When studying numbers, "Imaginary numbers" are the representation of the square roots of negative numbers. Mainly consider the 'square root of minus one' or possibly simpler by stating in reverse "Give the number whose squared value is negative one". We simplify the number notation by choosing an algebraic number of "i" or in electronics we use "j" (to be different from "i" which we use as a shortened term for current amplitude). This leads to each 'complex' number being divided into two types... a 'real' part and and an 'imaginary' part.

A famous mathematician, Euler, proved that:

e-ipi + 1 = 0 {Euler's Identity ~ search 'Euler' on Wikipedia}

and to Euler's Formula:

This brings in the concept of trigonometry into the complex plane and shows the 'real part' value is a cosine and the 'imaginary part' is a sine. These lead to 'pi' being brought out through this concept as a part of the overall 'complex space' and ties much of higher mathematics together. No need to go further here, just remember taking small learning steps will lead to a great method to discuss, calculate and truly understand our physical world. We actually live within a magical galaxy of time and space.

SI Constants

The International System of Units (SI), commonly known as the metric system, is the international standard for measurement. The SI rests on a foundation of seven (7) defining constants:
the speed of light in vacuum, the Planck constant, the elementary charge (i.e. the charge on a proton), the cesium hyperfine splitting frequency, the Boltzmann constant, the Avogadro constant, and the luminous efficacy of a specified monochromatic source. Definitions of all seven (7) SI base units are expressed using an explicit-constant formulation and experimentally realized using a specific practical techniques.

A redefining of the SI – In November 2018, the world’s measurement experts voted and unanimously approved a revision of the SI that establishes a measurement system entirely based on physical constants of nature. The changes became effective on World Metrology Day, May 20, 2019. (NIST) In everyday applications "ALL physical measurements now can be expressed 'exactly' in values of these seven constant values and only the desired precision needs to be figured out by the various calculations" or stated differently "Everything can be now calculated exactly in our universe, just use a large enough calculation to meet your precision requirements".

Values the Seven SI Defined Constants:
Name Symbol Value Units
Speed of Light c 299,792,458 meters / second
Planck Constant
h 6.626 070 15 × 10-34 Joule seconds
Elementary Charge
e 1.602176634 × 10-19 coulombs
Hyperfine transition of Cesium-133
∆νCs 9,192,631,770 hertz
Boltzman constant
k 1.380649 × 1023 joules/kelvin
Avogadro constant
NA 6.02214076 × 1023 particles / mole
Luminous Efficacy Radiation 540x10^12
Kcd 683 lumens / watt
Monochromatic radiation of frequency hertz
"Green Light"

The Seven SI base units:
Name Typical Symbol Name Symbol
t second s
l, x, r, etc. meter m
m kilogram kg
Electric Current
I, i ampere A
Thermodynamic Temperature
T kelvin K
Amount of Substance
n mole mol
Luminous Intensity
Iv candela cd

A nice chart showing how these seven base units are related to many derived units can be found at the
NIST site {upper right column icon}. Also, the Wikipedia's site as lots of great information. {Wikipedia does not want direct links into their information ~ so use the following "search terms" for some great reading:

International_System_of_Units Lots of details on unit definitions.

Metric_prefix The names used and powers of ten to be used.

Scientific_notation Use 'Engineering Notation' ~ what most calculators & computers use.

Metric Prefixes & Scientific Notation

The SI definitions for prefixes cover a range 10-30 to 1030 , the powers of ten for 0, 1, 2, and 3 (both positive and negative go by integer counts and then switch to ranges of 3 units {3, 6, 9, 12, ... 30}. See the Wikipedia site. It is common to use "Engineering Notation", a form of 'Scientific Notation' for doing many, many practical calculations in the area of Ham Radio. See the sub-title for "Engineering Notation" on Wikipedia the page for "Scientific Notation".
A point usually not recognized early in scientific
notation usage is 'precision'. Trailing zeros of the base number translates to increased precision of the measurement. Do not add or drop those zeros! Make all your calculations as precise as possible. The 'SI unit definitions' eliminates any accuracy issues for calculations. Hang in there and learn this in small steps ~ it will assist you greatly in the future. Both understanding and communicating large details quickly can be done with mathematical notation.