Finally taking the plunge into the hobby...

Discussion in 'Becoming a Ham - Q&A' started by SUMER, Jul 18, 2018.

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  1. SUMER

    SUMER QRZ Member least, I hope so! :)

    I have wanted to be a ham operator going on close to 17 or 18 years now. The Morse Code requirement and the cost of equipment held me back, not knowing anyone who was a ham to ask questions of, as well as installation of an antenna (which I still fear, to be honest).

    I kept coming back to the idea in the early 2000s, but I never pulled the trigger on getting licensed because of those things. Life got in the way and I forgot about ham radio for about 10 years. Last week, for some reason it popped into my mind again and I began reading up on the hobby again. I was amazed to find that the Morse Code requirement had been gone for over 10 years (wish I would have known sooner!) and newer radios to get started are very affordable. So with those two fears gone, I decided that I wanted to rekindle my dream of getting in the hobby. Of course, the fear of installing an antenna inside my attic (HOA restricted home, and wife thinks I would break my neck if I did something stealthy) still looms, but I plan to start on a Baofeng UV-82HP after purchasing one last night during Amazon Prime was one of their lightning deals for Prime Day!

    Anyway, I began studying for Tech license late last week and I plan to take the exam on August 9. I believe that is nearly 4 weeks. I am using the No-Nonsense Guide and I am about a quarter of the way through it. I decided to take two practice tests tonight to break up the studying a bit. Scored in the mid-60% range both times. Here's hoping the next three weeks I can bring that up to snuff. Any tips on studying for the Tech license is appreciated. I am hoping I can report back with good news on August 8!
    KJ7ISA, KA0HCP and N0TZU like this.
  2. KU4X

    KU4X Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Good evening Sumer,

    Sounds like you're on the right track toward getting your license...keep going!
    Keep taking the on-line practice exams. They are especially useful in helping you ID any problem areas you might have.
    When you can consistently score 85-90% on the practice exams, you will have no problems with the actual test.

    I would also recommend that you grab some 3x5 cards and make flash cards for any areas you have problems with and for the rote memory stuff like bands/frequencies, formulas and rules/regs. Keep them in your pocket and look at them any time you have more than 10 seconds to spare.

    Try to find a local club and start hanging out there. You should be able to find help there, both with the test prep and with getting your station set up once you're licensed.

    And one last thing, don't pay attention to the nay-sayers and grumpy old farts (of any age!) that you encounter here, at a club or on the air. Amateur radio is a microcosm of will encounter all types of folks. Learn from the good ones, ignore the bad ones.

    Good luck, and report back here and let us know how you did.

    SUMER and N0TZU like this.
  3. SUMER

    SUMER QRZ Member

    Thank you for the kind welcome, Bruce. I hadn't thought of the flash card approach. Now I need to figure out how to actually configure them!

    The test date I am targeting (August 8) is before any of the local clubs hold their monthly meetings, so I may be on my own for studying. I tried contacting the closest club to where I live last week, but, so far, no one has gotten back to me unfortunately. I plan to just show to the next meeting time even if they don't get back to me and even if I don't pass the exam. I am looking forward just meeting people who are in the hobby locally and getting their perspective on things.

    I didn't know the hobby had so many naysayers. That is unfortunate, as I believe all of us new people need as much encouragement as possible for such a technically advanced hobby! Here's hoping I don't run into too many of those types of people.

    Again, thanks for the warm welcome and the advice!

    KJ7ISA and KU4X like this.
  4. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Sumer!

    -Mark up the test guide. Use highlighters, make notes. For topics you don't understand, stop and go research them in textbooks or online until they make sense.

    -Use one tablet to list all the electrical formulas in one place.

    -Use index cards to make flash cards for definitions and formula, frequency privileges, etc.

    Simply creating lists and cards serves to reinforce the material!

    Repetition of material is the key to learning as we get older. Don't expect cramming to work well.

    Good luck! b.
    SUMER and KU4X like this.
  5. AB3TQ

    AB3TQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Kevin

    Taking advantage of several forms of study material can be helpful. Do you have a Windows Computer? Here is a link to a free download of ALL THREE current Question Pools. Tech, General and Extra all in that one download. There is also an included Frequency Privileges section by class. Windows ONLY software, but It won't cost anything to check it out to see if it holds any interest for you.

    Once you get your Tech License (thinking positively), you can immediately start working toward the General Ticket. Those questions will change next year on July 1st 2019. The online General file will be updated about that time.

    Do you know that there is generally a $15 fee to take the exam? Did you already apply for your FRN to simplify the exam session paperwork and interaction with the FCC? And after you pass the Tech Exam, you will probably be given a "free" (no extra charge that day) shot at the General Exam. So it would not hurt to take a look at those questions now.

    Good Luck
    Glenn AB3TQ
    SUMER likes this.
  6. SUMER

    SUMER QRZ Member

    Thanks for suggestions from both you and KB4QAA!

    I have a Mac computer, so I won't be able to use those programs.

    Actually, my exam site is free. The VEC whom I contacted said they are associated with LAUREL? He told me that this particular VEC group gives the exams for free, so I am glad about that! And yes, I got my FRN number this past weekend. If and when I get my Tech, I may take my time with it. Right now, I feel no rush going to General right off the bat as I am not sure I will even have a base station for quite some time or even a mobile station. I plan to use the HT radio for a little while until I feel more comfortable with the hobby.

    But again, thanks for the suggestions thus far. I took some more practice tests tonight and actually regressed a little bit on the scores. Thankfully, I still have three weeks to study!
  7. SUMER

    SUMER QRZ Member

    Welp, I aced the tech test 100% on Thursday night! Now, just waiting for my call-sign to hit the ULS! I went with HamTestOnline in the final weeks before preparation and was extremely satisfied with it. I enjoyed how it presented the material and, obviously, it worked since I scored 100% on the exam. Looking forward to finally getting on the air hopefully next week!
    KJ7ISA, WQ2H, KA4FXC and 2 others like this.
  8. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page


    Enjoy the next step, your first QSO.

    If you announce your call on a local repeater, and add, "New ham here, looking for my first contact", that should bring lots of responses.
  9. N6QIC

    N6QIC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Once your call sign appears in the FCC database it will take about (3) days for it to upload to QRZ. You can watch for it here.

    After your new call sign is in the QRZ database you will then need to post to the database forum and ask them to change your username to your new call sign.

    Congratulations, and welcome to ham radio,

    73, Lisa
  10. SUMER

    SUMER QRZ Member

    Thanks to both of you! Good tips. I just got my call today, KN4OMR! I tried doing some calls on a few local repeaters and added that I am brand new as of today, but no responses, except for some CW. Don't know if that was directed at me or not, but looking forward to trying some more this weekend!
    WQ2H and N6QIC like this.

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