Ham Radio

Joey Ketcham

For as long as I've been storm spotting and storm chasing, so far I've had great success calling in reports using my cell phone. However, I want to become licensed ham radio operator to be able to communicate with other spotters out in the field and to have better form of communication.

My thing is, I'm not very technical minded when it comes to things such as ham radio. I don't really know anything about radio transmission or really, anything about it.

So my question is, is there anyone else on here who is like me.. but was able to pass the technican exam?

How was it?

Also I notice ARRL has an online course at http://www.arrl.org/cce/Tech.html any opinions on this, is it worth the $$$?

Even if you have no techical abilities, or very little understanding of radio, the study guides/books, i feel, do a very good job of taking the "dummy" approach to teach you what you need to know. I had a pretty good understanding of electronics and radio propagation, but I came out with a whole lot more after studying for my test. In all honesty, if you aren't that concerned with learning that aspect of the hobby, by all means, dont. Someone else may disagree, but just learn enough to pass the test in that area, then forget about it if you want. I think the most important things to take away from the testing are the rules, the generic on the air conduct, and the band chart.

Can't say anything about the online course, but if I were you, I'd go pick up the book. There's alot of cool stuff in there, you can dog-ear the pages and use that book for refrence for the rest of your life.

On an interesting side note that i just realized, I got my ticket on october 26, 2000, so i've had my ham license longer than a drivers license! Ok, so i guess that's only interesting to me :D

What you will be looking at is the "No Code Tech" License. I can't remember what the actual name of it is. It's a 35 question multiple choice test and all the test locations I know of, use "Now you're Talking!" available at any radio shack or good book store for about $17.00. Like you, I don't have my license yet, though I've had a radio for years and monitor the frequencies I want. Basically, it's been an expensive scanner. Every year, I keep telling myself, I'm going to join the local ham club and get the license, and every year something comes up.

This year, I'm going to get it done. I lost my radio (and scanner, and wits) in a lightning strike about 2 months ago, and I'm replacing it with an older Yeasu model. I really think it's a good idea to have that license to not only talk with other chasers, but with the right licensing, communicate severe weather to spotter nets where they possibly haven't heard reports yet from their own network.

BTW: How's tricks up there in Pittsburg anyway? I grew up just south of you in Coffeyville!

John Diel
I have not looked at the online course, but I would just suggest the book as the others have. There a couple of books out there or study purposes. You can get the ARRL book for the Technician level license which will give you more "method behind the madness" type information. Or there are the books from Gordon West which basically give you the questions and answers and a VERY small description as to why the correct answer is the one.

Either way you go you will be shown the entire question pool in the book from which to study. The answers are there also. You just have to learn the information well enough to put them together, or just memorize the correct answers to each question.

Like Ben said, it's all in what you want to do with it. I studied the correct answers for the Tech license, then after I passed, I learned more about the "why's & how's" and learned alot from being on the air. For my General license I took the other approach, learned the theory which led me to the answers.

Good luck, and if you've got questions let us know. There's more than a few of us out here that are into the hobby aspect of ham radio, and play radio outside of stormchasing/spotting, and we certainly like to talk about it :wink:

Great tips from everyone! The Technician liscense for the most part is basic FCC rules, and light electronics theory. You only have to pass element 2 (written) in order to attain it. 30 questions, allowed to miss up to 9 and still pass (if I remember correctly.) Like others here, I studied the "Now your talking" book, and used the on-line test to check my progress. When I was passing 90% of the time, I went and took the real test and only missed 1 question. My interest in severe weather lead me to ham radio, and opened up a whole new world for me. I enjoyed it so much, that I decided to upgrade to General by taking and passing the Morse Code requirement (element 1), and an additional written (element 3) test which granted me access to the HF bands.

If you just want to participate in Skywarn and have local chit-chats on your home town repeaters, a Technician ticket will do the trick. You can do it, its not hard at all.

Hope to hear ya on the air!
Thanks guy, you've been a great deal of help and I certainly appreciate the advice. I'm gonna grab me some of the mentioned books here and start studying and work towards getting my technician license.

I was like that and still am. The good news is you get the question pool and answers ahead of the test so it isn't like a science quiz in high school. You actually get the answers. Now either I was stupid or I was like you. Took me 3 trys and 2 test times. Then I only passed with a 73 I think.
Just got my "ticket" today

Thanks to the encouragement from the people on this forum, I decided to study for and take the exam at our local Ham convention, Hamcom. I passed. YIPEE!

Not too difficult at all. I am ashamed to say that I missed one question on the test. Given that all of the questions and answers are publicly available, I should have aced the test. I studied for 5 hours last night and also used online testing at QRZ.com for practice in the last week os so. l got my practice test times to under 5 minutes with 100% accuracy for the 35 questions. That's probably why I missed the question (too much of a hurry).

Joey, go for it!

Rick Wilson
I will have had my ticket 1 year on July31, its been a good year around here for new hams(about 15) get the now your talking book, about $20 just about anywhere good luck!
I received my tech license earlier this year. The tech level exam is not that hard with the question pool. I basically studied the the morning of the exam and a bit the night before. My score wasn't perfect but I passed. I am not very technically oriented. I would buy some reference material from ARRL since it has been helpful even after I received my license.

Being a Ham made chasing this year much more enjoyable (and safer). I also have another way to call in reports.

Go for it and good luck.

Bill Hark
Well I just passed an exam for work that was 75 questions and got a 97% on it, so I'm sure I can easily pass a 35 question exam... I'm gonna start studying shortly and probably try taking the exam within a month.
Video testing

Congrats on passing the first part of the test you should no problems getting that 35 questioned passed easily.

Around here in Wisconsin we have video testing as an option which for me being a visual learner is alot easier and faster then the traditional way of learning before taking exam.

They bring u in from 8am till like 3pm on saturday and show you detailed information on whats in the book. Then they have u come in for an hour or two of more video and then u take the exam.
They have had a 97% success rating with this method and are plannong on doing this for higher class licenses. And its also encouraging women and other that are intimidated by the studying of the book to pass the class.

For me i bought the book just in case but i decided to just wathc the video ans see if i could pass and bam with flying colors i passed easily cause in those videos they actually show ya what youll be encountering instead of trying to visualize this in reading.
Its tons easier and faster and they provide refreshments and everything. It was a nice way to spend an evening.
My class i was had about 20 people in there half women half men. and only 1 person didnt pass cause they missed it by 2 questions other then that everyone passed.

So check into it and see if they are doing such a thing in your area weve been doing it here since 98.

Hope this helps those that are hesitant in spending hours studying a book like me lol.