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HAM Radio Class

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Wanna be a Ham?
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We are forwarding this information courtesy of SDORC member Doug McPheeters. Thanks Doug!
 
If you have any questions please do not reply to this email; use contact information in the below announcement.
 
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Covid Note: This is the next class on the current plan. We continue to hope for emergence from these pesky “covid times”. Please note for this class we may have an indoor mask requirement. If you cannot or will not “mask up", please see the class website for future offerings.
 
If you’re interested in an in-person Technician (entry level) class, and this date works for you, reply and ask to start the registration process.
 
If you’re only interested in an exam, see the https://glaarg.org/ website for remote and in-person testing, or https://sandarc.org for other testing options.
 
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Registration is open for our next Amateur Radio class!
This will be a Technician License (entry level) class - 27-Aug-2022 La Mesa area.
All the details are below…
 
==> Since this class is under two months away, please register As Soon As Possible.
 
==> Please Register Well In Advance (three or more weeks before class).
 
==> Some classes fill early, and Registration may close weeks before class.
 
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One-day Amateur Radio Technician License Class: Saturday, 27-Aug-2022 La Mesa Area
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The Amateur Radio Service (Ham Radio) has practical applications from providing emergency communications and supporting civic events to education and recreation.
 
This is an entry-level (Technician) class for beginners, immediately followed by the license examination. Those who pass the end-of-the-day exam will receive a radio license and call sign from the FCC which entitles them to transmit primarily on VHF and UHF Amateur Radio frequencies (range of about 50 miles over land).
 
Previous knowledge about radio or electricity is not required to take the class or pass the exam. However, we strongly recommend a little study in advance of class. History has shown that a few hours of study and practice tests before attending dramatically improved most people's ability to pass the exam.
 
Times: From 8:30 AM (sharp) to at most 7:00 PM for both the class and exam. (Plan to arrive about 08:15 AM.) This includes short hourly breaks and a 45-60 minute lunch break.
 
Location: La Mesa area (address and details provided later to those registered (see below)
 
Costs: The class is FREE of charge (no fee).
 
The examination will probably be free of charge. (Some examiners require a small fee ($5-10). If needed, details will be given later.)
 
The FCC is now charging a $35 license application fee. After you pass the test, they’ll send you an email on how to pay.
 
Eligibility: Anyone properly following emailed registration instructions and Covid mitigation is eligible.
 
Age limit: None (contact us for teen and pre-teen hints and tips)
 
Covid Mitigation:
We’re hoping to be spared yet another surge. However, if conditions warrant we may need to implement:
1. Face coverings may be required indoors.
2. If you or anyone in your household are feeling ill or experiencing flu-like symptoms the week before class, please reschedule to a future class.
 
Registration: Advance Registration is Required. 
We can not accept "walk-ins”.
 
Please Register soon! Seating is limited and classes have filled two weeks before the class date. 
 
Step 0: Check your calendar (and the family calendar!) - to make sure you are
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Thank you for this.
 

 Don’t tell anyone, but there’s a very slight chance that someone may have been using his radio without being properly trained and licensed!  

 

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I requested a spot as will my wife. Thanks, Randy!

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I'll see you there Jesse.

I just loathe those Bowell-Fungus radio's and am hoping that somehow, someway I'm doing it wrong.  That may be outside the scope of this class, but I'm going anyway.

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Dang, I'm gonna bail as wife and I are both under the weather.

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19 hours ago, Zubb said:

Dang, I'm gonna bail as wife and I are both under the weather.

Hope you both recover quickly....

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Thanks. 
 

maybe Jesse can give us a class report. 

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The class was a 9-hour, fast-paced, exam-cram followed immediately by the exam. The questions are public knowledge, so anyone can read them and see the correct answers ahead of time. If you had done no studying ahead of time I don't think the class alone would have gotten you to a point where you could pass the exam - it is just too much data to absorb that quickly. On the other hand, if you study ahead of time (I have a physical/digital/audio book recommendation at the bottom of this post) and you are able to retain and recall what you've studied, then the cram is more of a review and you'll be super crisp for the exam. The majority of the class passed, with at least one person out of the ~15 people there failing, though I believe he opted to sit the exam again right away with a new random selection of questions.

Speaking of questions, there are a little over 400 questions to choose from, and I believe those questions are divided into 35 categories across 10 broad topics, and the final exam will have 1 question from each of those categories. The chart below is from NCVEC (National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators) and gives a good idea of how the exam's design requires you to know a little about a lot. If you just can't get your head around Antennas and feedlines, for example, you would only stand to miss 2 of the 35 questions should you avoid studying that topic completely. The problem lies in the fact you must get a passing score of 76%, or 26 right out of 35, leaving room for only 9 wrong answers.

Section Number of Questions % of Exam
Chapter 1: Introduction to Amateur Radio 6 17%
Chapter 2: Operating Procedures 3 9%
Chapter 3: Radio Wave Characteristics 3 9%
Chapter 4: Amateur Radio Practices 2 6%
Chapter 5: Electrical Principles 4 11%
Chapter 6: Electrical Components 4 11%
Chapter 7: Station Equipment 4 11%
Chapter 8: Modulation Modes 4 11%
Chapter 9: Antennas and Feedlines 2 6%
Chapter 10: Electrical Safety 3 9%

 

I passed with 34 correct out of 35 (pretty happy with that score!) and I'm waiting for my callsign to be sent to me from the FCC. From there my license will be good for 10 years (!) and only cost me $35 thanks to this free class.

For anyone interested in learning how to use HAM radio, I highly recommend the book The Fast Track to Your Technician Class Ham Radio License. I am not the best reader and thus prefer audiobooks, however, I did something new with this book: Audible allows you to hear the audiobook while viewing the digital copy of the book, and even highlights where the speaker is reading. Very cool way to absorb information that has lots of math (not that HAM is math-heavy per see, but there are certainly a lot of numbers involved in the data) and pictures.

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Thanks for the report about the class. Do you have to retest every 10 years for the License?

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26 minutes ago, Goofy Footer said:

Thanks for the report about the class. Do you have to retest every 10 years for the License?

Nope. You do have to re-register, I believe. But no test, no $.

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Ugh!  Sounds like a good days ride lost forever to sit and play the school game.  

Thanks for the link.  I've bought the audible and will make myself eat it.

 

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Happy to help anyone interested in training. 

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I have a GMRS license and radio, which has been useful in the past, especially if a channel is agreed and shared for communications during an event.  No need to do a 9-hour class or back to school exams, but you do still need to pay a license fee to the FCC!  

HAM certainly has many advantages over GMRS, but for ease of communicating with others during an event, it’s a pretty good option for others to consider.

 

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I wasn't familiar with GMRS so I went to the Googles for more info - pretty neat service!

  • Uses a small slice of the 450-470 MHz (Ultra High Frequency or UHF for short) amateur radio band
  • No testing needed to obtain a license
  • Due to physical UHF limitations, this will be mostly line-of-sight communication but the range is far superior to technology like Bluetooth
  • Allows users to talk to repeaters, which opens up a pretty big coverage area
    • From your location, you can talk to a well-placed antenna on a mountaintop or tall building (Otay and Black Mountain have repeaters)
    • That antenna is connected to a radio configured to listen and immediately re-transmit your signal using a large amount of power and prime location
    • Some repeaters are linked to other repeaters so you can "hop" from one mountain/high location to another - and sometimes across the internet!
  • FCC allows some data transmission such as GPS and text messaging, making it easy to figure out where you are and where the listener is

More info from the FCC

 

 

Edited by Hawkins
added FCC link
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