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20060129 2006 January 29

Posted by kc2ped in Uncategorized.
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I am just starting to read the chapter in the study guide where they talk briefly about station logs.

In chapter 1 of the guide we learned that you have to be able to present your original station license any time required by the FCC or other government officials.

In chapter 4, in the section on Station Records, the guide says

What kind of station records should you keep? The FCC does not require you to keep any particular information about the operation of your station

So it sounds like the only thing you really need to have is your station license. And given that you are not required to keep any records you are probably better off if you don’t keep any. Then there isn’t a record you have made that they can use to hang you for something you did and didn’t know you did.

Reading on another couple of paragraphs I come to the subsection on FCC Inspections where I learn that

The FCC can conduct an inspection of your amateur station at any time. You must make booth your station and any station records available for inspection upon request by an FCC representative.

Now, if the FCC doesn’t require that I keep any particular information about my station other than the license, just what kind of records are they expecting me to produce if they show up for an inspection.

Anyway, based on the example of a log book they show in the study guide I have developed the following table for used in this space. I will probably use it to log at least my first QSO.

Date & Time: Local UTC
20060129.1830-1835 EST 20060129.2330-2335 UTC
Frequency: #####.## MHz
Mode: phone
Repeater:
Station Worked: CALL SIGN
QTH: City, State
RST: Tx Rx
1 2 3 7 8 9
QSL: Sent Rec’d
N/A No
Comments text text text and lots more text
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20060127 2006 January 27

Posted by kc2ped in Uncategorized.
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The ARRL study guide, Now You’re Talking, arrived at the library Wednesday and I picked it up on the way to my Wi-Fi user group meeting and have been reading it.

I also downloaded the test question pool from the ARRL site and had been reading through it identifying areas where I need to concentrate my study. Mostly that is areas dealing with frequency and emission privileges and some of the electronics dealing with formulas. Although I have taken the exam 50-100 times online at QRZ.com I am finding questions I have never seen before in each subelement of the test question pool.

I wish it was 12Feb06 already. I know enough to pass the test and would just like to get it over with.

###

I found a news article about the ISS going to dump an old Russian space suit overboard with a radio in it that would transmit temperature and radio battery strength telemetry back to earth in the clear and had thought that I might try to receive some of it. But it turns out that I would need to find an old scanner or buy a handheld radio and build a high gain antenna before 3Feb06 when the event is tentatively scheduled to take place. And the battery for the radio is only anticipated to last 2-4 days. So it isn’t worth me trying to do it at this point.

20060123 2006 January 23

Posted by kc2ped in Uncategorized.
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A while ago I got an email from the amateur radio operator who coordinates the local SkyWarn net and is also involved in the Coast Guard Auxiliary notifying me of an upcoming amateur radio technician’s licensing class and examination. I had sat for my license back in the 80s when you still had to pass a Morse code test which I didn’t pass although I did pass the written test and was prepared to pass the general theory test. So I am going to give it another try.

I know that I will need to keep some level of records once I get my license and the Google Blogger computers have proved to be more reliable than my own so I plan to keep my station log in a blind blog, the way I do my astronomy observations.

My ultimate goal is to be able to use a hand-held radio and palmtop computer to send text messages. Since I am into astronomy I am also intrigued by using tiny radios to bounce signals off the moon (EME). Of less interest is communication with the ISS and utilizing amateur space stations.

The study program I am undertaking is primarily a learn by yourself approach. The Thursday before the exam there will be a thee-hour class that will probably be devoted primarily to administrivia. That Saturday there will be a class from 0900 to 1700 EST and the next day, Sunday, there will be a class from 0900 to 1500 followed by the exam. With a schedule like this it is clear to me that they will only be covering the high points and answering questions in the class and we will have to learn most of the theory from reading the study guide before attending the class.

I found that the NYPL has copies of the study guide and have one en route to me. I expect it to arrive at my branch some time this week. In the meantime I have been taking practice exams on the internet. The first time I took the exam I failed it by one question but since then have been able to pass by one question all the way up to a perfect score based on what I remember from my last attempt some 20 years ago. I find that unless they are asking about specific frequencies I know enough to rule out several answers on most questions, and then to reason the correct choice from the remaining ones. It is still strange to me that the regulating body would allow the actual test questions to be published so that people can just memorize the correct answers. As of now, unless I am very unlucky in the questions they put on my exam, I will pass the exam without a problem.