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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 12:14 am 
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The wife and I are looking to get our Ham Radio Licenses. We know very little as of now and would be starting from the ground up. We came across http://www.hamradiolicenseexam.com/?gcl ... Kgod2iBaqA and was wondering if it is worth our time. We don't have local classes going on from what we searched, but I do know of some local clubs. Would a class like this work? Or would it be better to just go to a club first?

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:58 am 
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It's almost always better to take a class with real people than it is to take an online class. However, online is better than nothing.

That being said, I am 100% certain that with the help of a book, KB6NU's No-Nonsense Study Guides, and asking questions here on ZS, we can help both you and your wife get your Tech ticket without any trouble and almost certainly your General as well. Download those study guides I linked to and read them over. I think you'll see that the first two license exams aren't exactly rocket surgery. The 3rd one, however, does include questions on orbital dynamics (yes, really).


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 9:26 am 
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I used Ham Test Online for my General
http://www.hamradiolicenseexam.com/study.jsp
and it seems to be the best of the online study aids because it trys to take the time and teach the concepts instead of just making you memorize the questions and answers. Of course, it is really only a secondary study aid - the regular ARRL books are a good intro and find an elmer (online or meat space) to explain some of the concepts that you don't get or to handle the questions that naturally follow from what you learn in the books. Without the help from people like KC0MWM I would not have been able to understand nearly as well as I did.

And then I started an online electronics course to explain even more.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:05 am 
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I have two friends at work that recently passed the Tech and General test and they used the free online tests on QRZ.com. The guy that passed the General test only studied for about 4 weeks. These guys had no prior knowledge of radio but the new General class guy has an extensive education in electronics (from India) and the new Tech has a BSEE.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:21 am 
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Radio guy wrote:
I have two friends at work that recently passed the Tech and General test and they used the free online tests on QRZ.com. The guy that passed the General test only studied for about 4 weeks. These guys had no prior knowledge of radio but the new General class guy has an extensive education in electronics (from India) and the new Tech has a BSEE.
Radio Guy

This is how I got my tech, I just took the tests over and over until I could ace them. I googled any formulas I needed. It soaked in, and I aced it.
For my General, I got some ARRL books and studied my butt off.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:36 am 
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I used HamTestOnline.com myself for my tech, general and extra. I highly recommend it.

I do have an extensive electronics background though, and held an FCC 1st Class ticket (now the General Commercial Radio License) back in the very early 80's, so it was more a case of brushing up and learning the new stuff that had developed in the last 25 years.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:05 pm 
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Slugg wrote:
The wife and I are looking to get our Ham Radio Licenses. We know very little as of now and would be starting from the ground up. We came across http://www.hamradiolicenseexam.com/?gcl ... Kgod2iBaqA and was wondering if it is worth our time. We don't have local classes going on from what we searched, but I do know of some local clubs. Would a class like this work? Or would it be better to just go to a club first?


I'd check out a local club, lots of them have classes for the various licenses. Having said that, the Technician class level license isn't real hard to pass with a minimum of study.

Memorize Ohm's law, learn the most basic FCC stuff and use some common sense and you'll probably find it's pretty easy to pass.

One example of what I mean by common sense that's also couple with some FCC regs.

A typical but not exact question from the Technician's test. (Paraphrased)

While engaged in a conversation with another operator on your local 2m repeater you hear a distress call, you should do the following;

A. Tell the person calling to go to another frequency
B. Continue your conversation
C. Cease your conversation and attempt to help the person in distress
D. Ask the person you're conversing with to move to a different frequency

What would you think is the proper answer? If you can figure that out and learn some basic electronic theory you should be able to pass.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:10 pm 
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I love the ones that are, paraphrasing:

Quote:
If you are working under a monkey up a tower that is repeatedly dropping tools and antenna parts on you, which of the following would be a good thing to have?
A) SWR Meter
B) Prince Charles
C) A hard hat
D) The moon


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:43 pm 
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I used http://hamuniversity.com/ and I'm a tech. Yes, they do work. Honestly, I simply took the tests over and over and over and over again for about 5 hours in a week then took my test and passed. Once I got to the point where I was scoring 95% or better almost every time. I also started working on learning code with the program but got busy with life and never finished.

There are lots of resources that will help you get your license. Classes are fine, but for me, like I said, I just took the test a few hundred times on the computer and then passed the real test.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:32 am 
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I do not want to drift the thread in a direction, but I have some thoughts on ham radio testing that may be of use to someone. They may or may not be coherent or relevant.

To get away from the question here are my thoughts on other study options, starting with paper: I think there are three competing written study guides, each with its own philosophy.

The first obviously is the ARRL License Manual: It spends significant time going over the relevant theory, principle, or law that forms the basis of each question, and then has the questions for each pool.

The second is the "Gordo" book: W5YI/Gordon West study guide. These go over each question in the pool and have a short paragraph explaining the correct answer for each one.

The third is the MFJ method. In typical minimalist MFJ fashion, they go over each question in the pool and only show the correct answer. They claim this is the fastest way to pass the test, and that is probably true, but it is pure rote memorization with no explanation.

I prefer the first two books to the idea of an online training course that provides temporary access. I had the best luck with the Gordo book, because it is less a training course and more focused on the exam (and I am more of a natural test taker), but I find myself referring to both of the books as a reference to answer questions, mainly concerning FCC regulations, even now.

Plus I have helped create new hams afterward by loaning out the books.

For online materials, I had the best luck just taking the free tests on QRZ.com. Just going through that over and over made passing the tech Test very easy. I had attended traditional classes as a teen to get my Novice license back in the day and I think the online tests nowadays make things much easier than even studying in person (although studying Morse code from a real person is far superior to electronic training). One of the benefits to the online testing that it feels like you are taking a test instead of reading a book. Once you can pass online consistently I think the paper test is easier than the online testing because you can refer to other questions and answers at a glance, which you cannot do on the computer.

While in the bathroom, in bed, and other places away from the internet I also had phenomenal luck with the Amateur Radio Exam Prep series of iApps from Patrick Maloney. Very well written. I credit his General app more than anything with getting that ticket. While in the car, I also had good luck with the Michael Dell/John Martin Ham Radio Podclass, but it is difficult to focus on the material to the degree necessary while driving.

I did not have as much luck with online study materials or computer-based study materials. Many expose you to one question or element at a time, and I find it easiest to be able to flip back and forth with paper.

I think serious ham learning does not even start with exam prep or the exam though. Once you dive in and start doing it in the real world you learn more in a good afternoon than in preparing for the exam.

I would definitely find your club and make contact with them, but I would not expect much from them in terms of classes if you have any kind of a busy life. Established hams tend to have their own focus and interests, which may not be useful to someone trying to get up and running. You may find that someone is running an 'Elmer net' on a local repeater though that covers material that would help you get a license. If so you could listen in using a scanner. Some repeaters also stream their audio to the internet. This is a great way to learn the theory behind certain topics.

Frankly the Tech test is so straightforward that it is mind-numbing to go over the foundations of the material in a multi-week series of classes. Of the classes that I have attended or helped teach, I think more of an exam prep Q&A session is better than a theory class for the Tech test. Some of the questions are worded kind of sketchy and an experienced ham may not give you the best answer right out of the gate or you may not be able to deduce what the FCC considers the best answer from a knowledge of the theory.

In closing I will try to get back on topic and say yes, the online classes do work but may not be the best way to go. Yes, the internet is an invaluable means of test prep but there is little need to pay for a program to prep for the test. Yes, there are other electronic media for learning the material. And yes, I prefer paper in the long run.

I hope you two follow through on your ham licenses. I know several couples who are both hams and it opens a world of possibilities when it comes to managing a family unit in an emergency. APRS for one would take a lot of uncertainty out of trying to link up on Zero Day after the dead start walking the earth.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 3:58 pm 
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I tried a variety of different ways. I got my Technician Class license by reading the Gordon West books and purchasing software from http://www.hamexam.com/ which is a software package that will help you with all of the different FCC licenses, including some professional licenses. It works very well and was worth the money. (More below.)

Then I took a class to get my General Class license. You can find out if there is a local ham class in your area by going to the following website and typing in your zip code: http://www.arrl.org/find-an-amateur-radio-license-class. The class was four sessions (Friday night, Saturday morning, the next Friday night, Saturday morning, then take the test right after the last class). It was extremely awesome and very helpful. I would recommend taking a class for someone who is totally new to the hobby and just getting started with the technician license.

Then I had to get a professional certification for work. The General Radiotelephone Operator License is quite involved and took a long time to study for. I used books and was able to reuse the hamexam software (from the top paragraph). This software really earned it's awesome reputation by helping me study for this license. I took the test pool over and over, studied the parts I was having problems with, and retook the test until I was getting 95% every time. This test pool is quite large and the questions are as complex and about as difficult as any test I've ever taken. I walked in to the testing facility and finished the test in record time. The instructor thought I was cheating because I completed the first part of the test so fast, so he closely watched me take the second part of the test. I finished in 20 minutes out of an allowable 3 hours and got 98%. This software is awesome and is worth every penny. It really proved itself on this exam.

I plan on using the hamexam software to pick up my Extra Class license in the next year. FYI, you pay for it once and get free lifetime updates. Then you can also use it to get a bunch of professional certifications such as the FCC Ship Radar Endorsement or the GMDSS Radio Maintainer's license... I know not many ZSers are going to do this, but I thought I'd throw that out there for the communications nerds on the board.

If you plan on just getting the Technician Class license, and you don't plan on going too much further with the hobby and don't have a lot of technical background, take a class. If you plan on getting the Technician, General, and Extra Class licenses and have a technical background and want to continue studying further, get the hamexam software.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 10:17 pm 
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Radio guy wrote:
I have two friends at work that recently passed the Tech and General test and they used the free online tests on QRZ.com. The guy that passed the General test only studied for about 4 weeks. These guys had no prior knowledge of radio but the new General class guy has an extensive education in electronics (from India) and the new Tech has a BSEE.
Radio Guy


This is how I did it (coupled with the ARRL guide). I took my time trying to understand it all, but in the end getting your ticket and jumping in is how I got the hang of it. The QRZ tests are pretty accurate in terms of question spread.


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