A flexible low cost digital RF/IR communication link is described with an accompanying curriculum. The construction of the data link is intended to provide a jumping off point for students to explore electronics in a design-oriented, project-based first electronics class. The challenges of covering a core analog electronics curriculum to enable students to continue in the field and yet provide a rich design experience that will inspire students to remain in the electronics specialization are discussed. The course placement within the undergraduate curriculum is considered and the impact of this type of course on the prerequisite and postrequisite courses presented. Student acquisition of skills is assessed anecdotally and empirically. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2009.