New Study Guide for Technician / General / Extra Tests

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by N5HZR, Oct 4, 2016.

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  1. W4VEY

    W4VEY Ham Member QRZ Page

    How about a compromise -- don't offer the conceptual and technical (electronics, RF) answers to merely memorize but offer all the human red tape, names, acronyms, etc. ?
    On the autism spectrum, personally, the answers I'm tempted to memorize are all the human junk that belongs on a chart on my wall even if I'm vigilant about rules.
    If I had a QSL for every time someone noticed I forgot (assuming I never knew) some man-made trivia that doesn't change physics (thus underestimating me and recommending I start out all over again with a beginner's book) I'd be the contest champion of the world. Dad was an EE and the funnest part of the hobby is experimenting (not setting and forgetting and ragchewing) and then discovering answers why anomalies present themselves, sometimes the nature of which stump Gods of Radio. It's been an honor, without formal education on the topic exceeding 2 years of college, to actually enrich the experience, on occasion, for a mentor or elmer, him/herself.
    If someone knows what they're doing physically or electronically, they have to intentionally break rules or ignore protocol to do so, really (even if they have to glance at a chart).
    Conversely, if someone knows all the humanized junk in the world, it does them no good if they're inadvertently spewing out garbage from their equipment, and it can take a whole re-education on the topic if they've blundered blindly into practice.
    My $.02 after seeing this argument for years.
     
  2. KA5KXW

    KA5KXW Ham Member QRZ Page

    With respect, I think you miss the point. Using an analogy, think of when you got your drivers' license. You didn't become a highly skilled driver before you got your license. It was only after you had your license and a few years (decades) of experience that made you a good driver. For most hams, contact with a good club is how they learn the skills they need to get started, then years of making mistakes and learning new technologies follows to make them experts.

    The class to build your own equipment is where they will receive the nudge and the knowledge to start taking on technical topics. Why take a class where you already know the answers?

    Cheers!
     
    KE0CAA, AG5DB and NX6ED like this.
  3. K7JEM

    K7JEM Ham Member QRZ Page

    The FCC doesn't write any of the questions, that is done by the Question Pool Committee. Once the questions have been finalized, and accepted, they become the new question pool, which is then valid for several years. The questions are required to be made public, and available, before any exams can happen.

    This book doesn't provide any new information that isn't already available elsewhere. It just simplifies the process by taking out the wrong answers.
     
    KO2LA likes this.
  4. N4MRM

    N4MRM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    keyboard operators
     
  5. N5HZR

    N5HZR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    David, just to be clear on this topic, these test questions, answers, and distractors are released in the public domain, for us all to use. Each section is valid for a posted time period. The Technician section is valid until June 30, 208. The General section is valid until June 30, 2019, and the Extra section is valid until June 30, 2020. Publication, or lack thereof doesn't affect the question pools. The only changes are if a question is found to be in error. Those questions can be modified, or removed...

    Yep (sorta)... our 8 week class has a night dedicated to antennas, and samples like this are shown. Last time we brought a diploe antenna of unknown design, and laid it out on the floor. The 35 students asked what it was cut for, and none of us knew, as it was out of the junk bin. However, after using the floor tiles to measure the element lengths, and a calculator, they told us it was for 15 meters. The pe0ple just reading the book would have to research this on their own. However, 8 weeks after the class on antennas, 2 weeks after they passed their tests, a number of newly licensed students wanted to put up new antennas, and had already forgotten how to build an antenna... Use it, or lose it.

    All good thoughts, it's the service after the sale that counts.
    Our group meets three times a year for a picnic (including field day), monthly with a technical presentation, periodically when other hams need help, and daily (except Sunday) at a local McDonalds...
     
  6. KB6NU

    KB6NU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi. I've been publishing similar study guides for many years now (KB6NU.Com/study-guides), and I've heard just about all the criticisms out there. Not only that, I teach a one-day Tech course aimed strictly at helping people pass the test, not learn the material. Most of these criticisms are unfounded.

    First of all, if newcomers were expected to "really learn" all of the material covered by the questions in the question pool, they'd have to spend a lot of time taking many college courses. There's just no way to expect them to do that.

    Second, many of the questions on the Tech test--I'd guess that maybe up to half of them can only be answered correctly by memorizing the answer. The question that I always point to is the one that asks what the maximum power an amateur can use when controlling a radio-controlled model. There's no way to calculate the answer to that question. (The correct answer is 1 W, by the way.)

    Third, many people learn by doing, not sitting in a classroom, listening to a lecturer drone on. How are they going to learn if they don't have a license? So, my focus is on getting them licensed and then helping them learn by doing the things in amateur radio that they are really interested in doing.

    And, I make myself available to them, if they have any questions or need any help at all. That goes for any of the hams that have taken my classes or have purchased my study guides.

    I'm proud of all the people that I have helped get into the hobby and are now enjoying amateur radio. Sure, some of them only got the license to please a spouse or because their father had a license many years ago. Others came to the conclusion after trying it that ham radio just wasn't for them. A good percentage, though, are now active hams and are doing interesting things.

    By the way, my "No Nonsense" amateur radio license study guides are available in PDF, Kindle, and ePub formats, as well as in print. They're all available on Amazon (just search for KB6NU) or on my website.
     
    W9AFB, KE0CAA and K9AYL like this.
  7. N5HZR

    N5HZR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Glenn, no, I'm still OK on the exams. I started out life in the CB craze of the early '70s... KBJY8406 here... Cost me $4, and filled out a little form, and I was in. That produced a HUGE wave of new CB'ers, but since the people didn't have to invest anything into their process, these newly found people dropped out just as fast. (Bad...) The ham exams require that some effort is put into learning about radio. Like most entrance exams, these are measures of baseline knowledge. We work hard to get interested parties through their tests, and then encourage these new hams to find their own place in the hobby. Until you make your first solo contacts, you don't know how cool that is. Until you work your first contact with the ISS, or like me, MIR, you know if you like that mode. Our latest Tech/General class of 35 has just wore us out with their actions and efforts in the hobby. Thank goodness we've got a LOT of Elmers that have spread the load. The first thing they wanted was to learn Morse Code, so we built the w5nor.org/morse and at the November meeting we'll talk about getting active in CW. They wanted to get their Extra ticket, so this manual was built. They wanted antennas, so we've built 50+ antennas for everything from 80 M to 73 cm. They wanted to homebrew their own equipment, so this Saturday we'll show them how to design, layout, and produce their own printed circuit boards for a total investment of about $50... and the list goes on, and on, and on. All they need to know is to visit the club website, and show up at the meetings with a stack of questions.
     
    KC5YSQ, N0IRS and KE0CAA like this.
  8. W4IOA

    W4IOA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I looked at the website and thought this is a real club that understands the need and has a vision, more need to follow your example.
    Ignore the naysayers, they are stuck within their own sense of importance and have forgotten how to elmer or assist.
     
    KC5YSQ, K9AYL, W9AFB and 1 other person like this.
  9. W4IOA

    W4IOA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Only concerning the digital modes
     
    KC5YSQ likes this.
  10. N5HZR

    N5HZR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks, we've got a couple hundred guys and gals that all seem to pull on the same rope to get things done. Always humbling to look back and see all the stuff that gets done, always amazing to look forward and see all of the things in the works!
     
    KC5YSQ, K9AYL and W4IOA like this.

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