Go for Extra?

Discussion in 'Becoming an Amateur Radio Operator/Upgrading Privi' started by KX4AS, Jan 7, 2017.

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  1. KX4AS

    KX4AS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am going to have to take the exam to re-obtain my FCC Ham license because I didn't renew in the grace period (Yeah, I know, not too smart of me). I WAS licensed from 1993 to 2013 as a Technician W/5WPM code as KE4BQU. The question is this: Should I just go ahead and take all 3 exams at one time and get it done rather than piddling around? I have been studying for taking all 3 levels of practice exams on several sites and am consistently scoring in the upper 80 to low 90's percentile. I am able to devote more time to the hobby now and want to get back in the saddle. Also, What used rig would you recommend that I can engage in digital/satellite comms with? I currently only have old Heathkit rigs from the 60's and 70's. Thanks in advance for constructive replys.
  2. KN7S

    KN7S Swapmeet Moderator Emeritus Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Cool deal! Just go for all 3 in one sitting if you feel up to it.

    I highly recommend a relatively newer rig that includes DSP. I use a 12 or so year old FT-950 with very good results. Rigs around the age of mine are going used here and on eHam, QTH etc. are going for $900 or less depending on accessories. I'm a rather biased Yaesu HF fan, but I know the Icoms and Kenwoods are also quite good.

    Good Luck on your tests!
  3. KX4AS

    KX4AS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the info, I didn't really know about DSP. I will educate myself. Thanks again.
  4. K6CLS

    K6CLS Ham Member QRZ Page

    If your goal is to get on the air, just go take the tests. If you don't get the Extra, no biggie, General gives you privileges on the HF digimodes frequencies.

    Personally I enjoyed studying the Extra material; a journey, not a destination.

    For FM satellites, get a Kenwood TH-D72 and handheld yagi like Arrow or Elk.

    For the other birds, maybe an FT-847? I don't think there is a current production rig that does duplex. Maybe IC-9100? But you'll need more antennas, preamps, rotators, etc.

    For digital modes on HF, any rig in the last 20 years will do. Just needs audio in and out and TX control. My Icom 735 works great. Anything newer would be fine too.

    Oh what the heck, just go get a K3.
  5. AB3TQ

    AB3TQ Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't know what your exact VE test experience will be like. MOST charge a $15 fee to administer the test. I know at least one VEC does the testing for free. If your local VEC hosts test sessions periodically, they are probably not swamped with test applicants.

    My personal experience is that I did pay $15. Every applicant that passed Tech was then given a "free" shot at General. I was one that passed. Then I was given a "free" shot at Extra. Passed that too. No big deal. If you really are prepared, it's easy. Had I passed Tech one month, General the next, and finally Extra the next - at $15 per session that would have cost me $45 total. A difference of $30.

    If someone took a test, and just missed a passing grade - they were given another shot at a different randomly selected computer generated set of questions for the same license class. If you had missed quite a few questions, they encouraged you to keep studying and come back again next month, with another $15.

    A VE team is not obligated to do these things, but I think most will if there is enough time and enough resources to accommodate you. If they present the test questions to you on paper, some or all of this might not be an option. A computer is much more flexible.

    If pre-registration is not required, I think the odds are that the tests will be presented on a computer, and your experience could be exactly like mine. Call the VE team in advance and ask. Go for it. No reason not to.
  6. KX4AS

    KX4AS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks to all who told me to charge forward! After receiving the previous encouragements, I successfully passed Technician, General and Extra exams in one sitting on Sunday, 29 Jan 2017! I was informed that of the three exams, I performed the best on the Extra, then Technician and General, in that order. Any and all flamers are welcome to vent their collective spleens about my personal success. I'm sure there will be at least one with a flaming opinion. Isn't free speech great!? I am currently practicing CW and I want to operate QRP as a rule, with Phone tossed in only once in a while and during local emergencies. I am currently reading Electronic Communication, 5th Edition by Schrader. I am liking what I am reading. It's very straightforward and comprehensible. I have a couple cheap 40m Pixie kits I will build and try different tacks with. I want to come up with something original that truly settles at least one of the Pixie's many flaws and share with the Amateur community.
    N0TZU and W9AFB like this.
  7. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes by all means Do it;
    I did and passed all three.
    If you don't pass the Extra don't worry, take it next time.
  8. KN7S

    KN7S Swapmeet Moderator Emeritus Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yahoo! You truly kicked some butt. Get a rig and get on the air. Enjoy yourself!
    N9DOK likes this.
  9. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good to hear. :)
    Welcome to HF.

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