Ted’s essays

ham radio testing


I passed my FCC General class license test today!!!


I was neither confident nor optimistic going in.  I was failing 3 of 5 practice tests online (300-question test pool from which each test has 35 covering all 9 areas, with 26 correct passing).  Worse, I was guessing at some of the answers I got right.  I was prepared to pay $15 each for two re-tests before giving it up for this go-round.

Then I got lucky. The first test they handed me was EXACTLY the questions from each area that I had in my head.  I knew I smoked it before I even put my pencil down.

(there are 3 levels of amateur radio licenses, Technician, General and Amateur Extra.  The first is primarily local communications on VHF like amped-up, refined walkie talkies and CBs.  The second opens up the world of High Frequency radio transmission which effectively means state-wide, nation-wide and world-wide … obviously hugely significant when normal communications channels break down.)

I haven’t even mounted my 2-meter (local) antenna and radio, but am now already scheming on the long-range frequencies.  On my short list is making contact with a handful of friends in adjacent states. There is a lot of equipment setup between now and then, though.

Good news on the equipment front: One of the local club radio masters has an extra HF rig she will loan me  (these start near $1,000 and go way up from there).

Better still, a friend FOUND one in their basement that they are giving me just as soon as the transfer can be made (100 miles each way between me and it).  They have no idea what it is or if it works, but I’m feeling lucky.

I have lots of scrap wire.  I’ll get something going on soon.

P.S. Oh yeah, Missy was among 7 locals who spent the last month+ meeting every Saturday for classes to pass the Tech test. ALL OF THEM passed today.