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20060123 2006 January 23

Posted by kc2ped in Uncategorized.

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.

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