Looking to take my Tech test in Los Angeles ASAP

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio License Test Schedules' started by KK6QMS, Oct 29, 2014.

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  1. KW4EK

    KW4EK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I took my Technician and General tests back in September and ours were still administered on paper and required the requisite #2 pencil so they could later scan the answer sheets to validate the results of our exams. However, the on-site results were just validated one answer at a time by the VE's, the actual scanning to validate their tentative scores was apparently done off-site in a central location.

    A calculator, they prefer non-programmable calculators be used, is handy for double-checking some answers, though in many cases you just need to work out the magnitude and sign (+/-) of the result to pick the correct answer from those offered, so you often do not need to work the do,union to completion. You will mostly use it to calculate wavelengths, frequencies or basic Ohm's law equations.

    Unfortunately, you are expected to have memorized the formulas (no formula cheat sheets or calculator programs are permitted for the tests). I've never been a big fan of this sort of memorizations because these formulas are the sort of thing most people will only memorize if they use them frequently, for those that do not I would rather a person did look up the formula beforehand rather than rely in a possibly faulty recollection of such for a possibly important calculation. But then these tests seem to be formulated more on the principle of brute memorization skill than actual mastery of the concepts covered.

    You'll find advice on the ARRL website as to what to bring to your exam and the suggestion of pre-registering for your FRN is included in that advice if you prefer to withhold your SSN during your first exam session (which was the option I took as well). It takes just a few minutes to register and create your FRN number on the FCC's website and there is no fee for creating the account. Once you have your FRN number this is the only number you should report on your test forms from there on as it is to this account that your license details will be assigned.

    At the time of my exams in September the VEC administering the exams was only charging $10. If an individual failed an exam and wanted to retake the exam then it would have been an additional $10, otherwise you can keep taking exams until you either pass all three exams or fail one for the same initial $10 fee.

    I'll be returning in December or January to take the Extra exam and complete my license upgrade.
  2. KK6QMS

    KK6QMS XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for the last 2 posts guys. I passed my Tech on Sat. I wish I would have known about the FRN but I feel alright about it. They gave us paper forms and pencils. :)
  3. AB3TQ

    AB3TQ Subscriber QRZ Page

    Informative post Ethan.

    I wonder how many new aspiring hams will be reading this forum thread. The computerized test was fantastic. One of the VE's made sure every question had an answer selected for every question before initiating the one click instant grading the computer made possible. I wasn't concerned about the actual score on the first two exams, so I will never know. I was already thinking about the next one. But yes, I was keeping a close eye on that third result. And I knew instantly I was a brand new "no code" Extra. I am still working on that. Not yet a full know code. Lets call it a slow code.

    I initiated an email dialog with the test session contact listed to ask about acceptable calculators. I was advised to not bring a "memory" calculator. I replied that a bottom of the line Walmart calculator has memory. Turned out he meant a type capable of formula memory. So just a basic trig / scientific notation calculator is fine, even if it can save the number 586 to memory (just for example). The VE's almost even glanced at it when I showed it to them when I arrived.

    But really, if you actually understand the question, most math type answers will fall into a fairly obvious range or first digit. Since there is very little attempt to try and trick you, a slide rule would get you there if you don't actually already see the answer it in your head. How many other brand new hams have any slide rule experience? I can say without reservation that all Amateur Radio licensing today is a walk in the park compared to passing all the way to First Class Radiotelephone 40 years ago. I think I mostly used the calculator for Reactance and Resonant Frequency (very closely related). Do have a good grasp of Metric prefixes (pico, micro, kilo, etc) and how to enter them as scientific notation. Many times if you know two simple formulas, you can transform them into something else you need (think Ohms Law).

    I do wonder how Clifford made out this weekend, but now good luck to you to Ethan.

    Glenn - AB3TQ
  4. KK6QMS

    KK6QMS XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    ...not sure why but my posts are still requiring moderation for approval so they take a long time to show up.
  5. KK6QMS

    KK6QMS XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    ...not sure why but my posts are still requiring moderation for approval so they take a long time to show up.
  6. AB3TQ

    AB3TQ Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well, I see what had me so confused about your account Clifford. I had responded to FOR SALE items in the past by Private Message. It was so easy to figure out, I didn't even think about it. Some of what I did post previously in this thread I had thought to send to you via PM. But it would not work quick and easy like I remembered, so just shrugged it off and stopped trying to initiate a PM.

    I now see that "established" QRZ members have the Private Message option pop up with other options when you click on a user name / CALL SIGN. That option is not there on yours. Try it yourself on your own user name. It seems that if the PM option is there when you click on it', you have become a full member of the "club". And if not, well why not?

    And come on man. Did you take the test Saturday? If so, what happened?

  7. KK6QMS

    KK6QMS XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Argh. It posted that last one twice and seems to have lost the one I posted after I =passed my test=! :)
    Man, it is like unless you have a call sign there are no amt of dues you can pay to use the forums like a normal human bean. Not cool for new/aspiring hams like me who are still learning and can contribute even though they do not yet have a call or are a paying member. I tried to PM a guy who said he had an FP-800 PS for my Yaesu FT-890 but could not.

    Thanks Glenn, I appreciate your support.

    I was actually just on my roof trying to copy an emergency simplex net here in LA:
    Standing on the roof of my 1 story apt-
    1 HT with Nagoya ant and earpiece (picked up the net op from prob 15-20mi away if I held it 45deg angle juuuust so...)
    1 HT with diy connector and two leads- connected to....
    1 giant TV 3 section antenna installed today on its side (no copy)
    1 Antennacraft ST2 connected to my PRO-2005 scanner blasting w window open (only copy 2 local participants)
    1 K40 cb antenna on the roof which pulled a bit of a signal but not readable.

    The ST2 is great but I'll be damned if I didn't hold my HT right in front of it 45deg and get a full quiet signal from the net op (http://qrz.com/db/K1KMO) while the ST2 got nada. No rotating helped. That bums me out. Maybe the RG-6 that came with the ST2 would benefit from being replaced with LM400?


  8. AB3TQ

    AB3TQ Subscriber QRZ Page

    Congrats Clifford

    Your true learning process has just begun. Much like my own did. I had a good enough electrical background to breeze through the current open question, multiple guess, Amateur License process (really, most of my answers were NOT guesses). But after passing, I now learn something new about Amateur Radio every week. Join a club. It helps!!!

    And with that said, I also am not there to see exactly what you are doing up on the roof. But you are matching (I hope) a 300 Ohm antenna to 75 Ohm cable (RG-6), but you wonder what will happen if you instead throw some good, STIFF, 50 Ohm cable at it. Well, that depends. And I admitted I don't have all the answers.

    And I am curious if you figured out approximately what Call Sign you are likely to get? It took me about a week to see that the answer had been there all along. I just didn't know what I was looking at. And then of course, I got one I hated and promptly ditched it. I am good where I am now though.

    Anyway, out of the next 24 available Sequential 6 Land Call Signs YOU are looking at - 1 will have 4 K's, and 23 will have 3 K's. Kilo rolls off the tongue pretty well, and ain't bad on CW either. But at this point you guys are mowing down the KK6Q?? licenses pretty fast. So who knows. Well, you should in about a week.

    Glenn - AB3TQ (who promptly ditched AB3TP)
  9. KK6QMS

    KK6QMS XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks Glenn.
    I am looking here and choosing name and then my last name:

    I have no idea what sign I will get and not sure how I would see. I just keep waiting for the big surprise. How hard is it to change if you do not like the call? Why did you hate yours?

    On the roof yes I am using matching transformers etc. but really just experimenting. Will share some interesting results later- have to run off to work.

    Thanks again,
  10. AB3TQ

    AB3TQ Subscriber QRZ Page


    Yes, the FCC site you linked to is the 100% authoritative official repository of Amateur Radio Call Sign information. But there are some quite good non-official sites that take data made available by the FCC to extract points of interest, and present it in more user friendly form. Here are my two favorites:

    Using sites such as those make it much easier to track the progression of Region 6 (California), Class “D” issued Sequential Call Signs. That is the group your Call Sign will be coming out of (unless you passed all the way to Extra and forgot to mention it). While you were taking your test last weekend, the next Sequential available was KK6QHW. After a day of FCC processing on Monday it advanced to be KK6QIH. Tuesday KK6QKC, Wednesday KK6QKU. As of now (Thursday) KK6QLS.

    Next available Sequential Calls are always moving targets, but the Region 6 Class “D” Calls really move. So you should probably look as far ahead as Kilo Kilo Six Quebec MIKE Something, or Kilo Kilo Six Quebec NOVEMBER Something. It would take 60 more licenses issued before yours to make you an OSCAR, and 86 to make you a PAPA (did that sound right). It won’t be long then till somebody winds up with the quite interesting Kilo Kilo Six QUEBEC QUEBEC QUEBEC. I think you will get the idea. Most of us in slower activity regions are able to narrow down the speculation quite a bit more than that.

    Why did I hate my original Call? Just think about it, or Google TP !!! – And I wasn’t the only one that made the immediate association (I actually had been dreading the possibility in advance). And it was then fortified through ribbing by my brother, and somewhat by a ham friend. How hard is it to change a Call Sign? Well, complicated is a better word than hard, and that depends on the circumstances. Do you want to apply for (and pay for) a new Vanity Call? Is that going to be a DESIRABLE (scarce) Vanity Call? (not likely in your case yet). Or do you only want the next available FREE Call Sign like I did? Remember that any new FREE Sequential is not selected. It is assigned (you take what you get, just like this time), but it only required a few mouse clicks after logging in to the FCC site you had previously linked to. You would already have an account and a password there if you had pre-applied for an FRN. Otherwise just register and go.

    Researching, selecting, indicating, applying, and pre-paying for a Vanity Call that you are not even guaranteed to get, is just a bit more complicated. There is a Lottery system to assign a Vanity Call that has competition (more than one applicant). There is a lot of info online about the process.

    Good to see you know about impedance matching. Don’t forget to consider good flexible Ladder Line in your experiments (you can actually make your own if you can space it carefully). Of course, it is important to be more aware of where / how Ladder Line can be most effectively routed. And have fun with whatever you use !!!

    P.S – If you did pass the General exam already, no problem. If you are not a General yet, the current exam becomes obsolete on June 30, 2015, and a new one becomes effective the next day. Look for the new 2015 – 2019 General Exam to be made public very soon. Or just study the current one very quickly, and find another test session before July.

    Glenn – Not TP
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