Technician Question of the Week T5B03 Math Prefixes

T5B03:  How many volts are equal to one kilovolt?

A. One one-thousandth of a volt
B. One hundred volts
C. One thousand volts
D. One million volts

These types of Technician questions boil down to interpreting the prefix that’s added to the unit. In this case the unit is the electrical measure of electromotive force (EMF), volts. The prefix kilo has been added to the unit volts in the question. These kinds of mathematical prefixes are essentially multipliers, but you have to know by how much to multiply for a given prefix! Here’s the common mathematical prefixes you’ll find in ham radio, and the bold ones are contained in at least one Technician exam pool question.

prefix multiplier numerical value decimal value
pico one trillionth 1/1,000,000,000,000 0.000000000001
nano one billionth 1/1,000,000,000 0.000000001
micro one millionth 1/1,000,000 0.000001
milli one thousandth 1/1,000 0.001
unity (one) 1
kilo one thousand 1,000
mega one million 1,000,000
giga one billion 1,000,000,000

The prefix kilo means 1,000. So, a kilovolt is 1,000 volts. The correct answer to question T5B03, “How many volts are equal to one kilovolt?” is C. One thousand volts.

You should also know that when converting between these prefixed units, the decimal point in a provided value shifts three positions for each “step” in the list of prefixes above. See the HamRadioSchool.com Technician License Course book Section 8.3 (p.136-138) for a thorough discussion of unit conversions. Also see the related questions listed below that will test your prefix and conversion knowledge.

Related Questions: T5B01, T5B02, T5B03, T5B04, T5B05, T5B06, T5B07, T5B08, T5B09