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Author Topic: Ham Radio Training Thread  (Read 8333 times)

oldzoot

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Ham Radio Training Thread
« on: October 10, 2007, 01:14:18 pm »

This will serve as the ham radio license training thread.

I found http://www.hamtestonline.com  but it seems that it costs $50  for a two year subscription.   Oh well.   

If anyone wants to use hamtestonline,  I will be happy to try to answer any questions you may have about the material presented there.

Otherwise,  I will begin posting mini-lessons in this thread to get things going.

OldZoot
« Last Edit: October 10, 2007, 01:33:06 pm by oldzoot »
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oldzoot

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Q-1
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2007, 10:06:55 am »

Question:   Who is an amateur operator as defined in part 97 ?

Answer:  A person named in an amateur operator / primary license grant in the FCC ULS database.

Part 97  is the section of FCC rules governing amateur radio.     The ULS (universal listing system) is the database of all licenses granted by the FCC.   Until you are listed in the ULS as an amateur operator licensee,  you are not licensed as an operator even if you have passed a test, sent in the forms and money etc.   


other options (wrong) are:    A person who has passed a written license application.        This is wrong because the until the FCC assigns a call sign and enters your license grant in the ULS ( universal listing system ) database you are not licensed.   Without a license, you are not legally an amateur operator.


The person named on an FCC form 605 application.
  Again,  having your name on the form does not mean that you are licensed.  You need to both pass the appropriate tests and submit your license application with fees and be entered in the ULS database before you are licensed as an amateur operator.


A Person holding a restricted operating permit. 
 
A restricted operating permit is for the operator of an aircraft,  aeronautical ground (airport) station or a marine station operating on a personal (pleasure) boat in some cirumstances.   None of these are amateur licenses  and thus have no right to operate on amateur frequencies or power levels.

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oldzoot

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Q-2
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2007, 10:19:11 am »

Q:    What is the ITU ?     A:    The International Telecommunication  Union


Wrong Answers:     International Telecomunication Utility

                            International Telephone Union

                            International Technology Union



The ITU is a UN organization of countries which cooperate in the regulation of telecommunications standards.   These include the assignments of frequencies for various communications services as well as types of modulation, signaling, encoding etc.   If the countries did not cooperate, the result would be chaos on the airwaves and little communication would be possible due to interference,  people not having compatible equipment etc.    Within the standards of the ITU,  countries can regulate the liciensing and operation of telecommunications systems.  '

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Telecommunication_Union
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padre29

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Re: Ham Radio Training Thread
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2007, 01:07:42 pm »



Old Zoot, I am philosophically opposed to begging the govt's permission to act as a Citizen.

With that being said, could you fill in the details of the test such as how long it is, which "license" is required to operate which sort of equipment, the "need" for such a license and how someone who was interested in acquiring one would go about doing just that?

On occasion they have weekend long classes at a local Comunnity College that allows one to become to take a test and be "granted" a license, is there a way to do that outside of attending those classes say by taking them online?

Is this thread a primer for acquiring a license or is it meant to give general information about the subject?
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oldzoot

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Re: Ham Radio Training Thread
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2007, 03:10:53 pm »

This thread is intended to serve as an on-line class to help people get a ham license.     There are several good resources on the Internet, the best one I found so far costs money however.  that is  http://www.hamtestonline.com   it is $50  for a two year subscription.  It has interactive lessons along with lesson-by-lesson Q&A.   I figured the $50 bucks would stop a lot of people, so I am trying to do something useful here, but it is a slow process.

Regarding the license in general....  (this material copied from the ARRL web site at http://www.arrl.org/arrlvec/)

The most popular license for beginners is the Technician Class license, which requires only a 35 question multiple-choice written examination. The test is written with the beginner in mind. The exam covers basic regulations, operating practices, and electronics theory, with a focus on VHF and UHF applications. Morse Code is not required for this license. With a Technician Class license, you will have all ham radio privileges above 30 megahertz (MHz). These privileges include the very popular 2-meter band. Many Technician licensees enjoy using small (2 meter) hand-held radios to stay in touch with other hams in their area. Technicians may operate FM voice, digital packet (computers), television, single-sideband voice and several other interesting modes. You can even make international radio contacts via satellites, using relatively simple station equipment. Technician licensees now also have additional privileges on certain HF frequencies. Technicians may also operate on the 80, 40, and 15 meter bands using CW, and on the 10 meter band using CW, voice, and digital modes.

Technicians may upgrade to General Class by passing a 35-question multiple-choice written examination. The written exam covers intermediate regulations, operating practices, and electronics theory, with a focus on HF applications. Non-licensed individuals must pass Element 2 and Element 3 Written Exams to earn a General License. The FCC grants exam element 3 credit to individuals that previously held certain older types of licenses. Valid Forms of Examination Element Credit can be found on the Web.

The General Class is a giant step up in operating privileges. The high-power HF privileges granted to General licensees allow for cross-country and worldwide communication. Some people prefer to earn the General Class license as their first ticket, so they may operate on HF right away. In addition to the Technician privileges, General Class operators are authorized to operate on any frequency in the 160, 30, 17, 12, and 10 meter bands. They may also use significant segments of the 80, 40, 20, and 15 meter bands.

General licensees may upgrade to Extra Class by passing a 50-question multiple-choice examination. No Morse code test is required. In addition to some of the more obscure regulations, the test covers specialized operating practices, advanced electronics theory, and radio equipment design. Frankly, the test is very difficult, but others have passed it, and you can too. Non-licensed individuals must pass Element 2, Element 3 and Element 4 Written Exams to earn an Extra License. The FCC grants exam element 3 credit to individuals that previously held certain older types of licenses. Valid Forms of Examination Element Credit can be found on the Web.

The HF bands can be awfully crowded, particularly at the top of the solar cycle. Once one earns HF privileges, one may quickly yearn for more room. The Extra Class license is the answer. Extra Class licensees are authorized to operate on all frequencies allocated to the Amateur Service.

End of copied material


To get a license,  you study the material and then take a test given by a panel of Hams called VEs (Volunteer Examiners)   These tests are periodically given in public places (I took my last test at a hospital in a meeting room)  and cost about $15 or so.   If you pass the test,  the VEs give you a certificate that gives you credit for passing the test.  You submit that along with a completed form 605 to either the FCC directly  or one of their license agencies.   If you work through the ARRL,  I think the total fee is $14.


The technician license will let you use voice on VHF and UHF equipment.   This stuff is good for line-of-sight communication.   If there is a repeater on a mountaintop, you can communicate through the repeater to anyone else who has line-of-sight to the repeater.   In addition to voice, you can use digital modes such as packet which can be used to communicate from PC to PC  or to a BBS system     

The general and extra licenses add a great deal of HF priviliges.   HF is the "shortwave" frequency bands which can travel  around the world and make ham radio more interesting to many people.   The test is somewhat harder  (quite a bit for the extra) but is worth it in my opinion.


The license is really required.   If you make up a callsign and operate without a license,  someone will probably look up the callsign and question you about it and perhaps report you to the FCC.   The ham bands are self-policed (although the FCC can and does monitor at times).  In studying for the license,  you will learn some elements of good operating practice as well as the basic rules and regulations.    Once you are licensed, hams in your area will  probably welcome you and help you pick up the finer points of operating,  especially using repeaters etc.


Regarding the governments permission,    the government has a responsibility to the international community to regulate radio use in our country.   They need to make sure that people don't violate technical standards or create harmful interference that may affect others anywhere around the world.   A testing and technical program is one way to do that.   They do not insist that you go to a government agency to take classes.   There is no background check ( although I believe they do require an SSN on the form )  and when you get your license you pretty much don't have to deal with them for ten years till you renew it ( no test required for renewal ).   


Regarding the community college classes,   that can be a good way to meet other hams and learn more about the hobby quicker.  There is a longstanding tradition of "Elmering"  new hams -   an Elmer is someone who helps newcomers get started.  Hams from your area can fill you in on what repeaters are most active and interesting in the area and can let you "try on " ham radio  using their stations (they must remain in control, but you can talk or type)


oldZoot


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padre29

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Re: Ham Radio Training Thread
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2007, 04:47:10 pm »



Sorry to be so dense Old Zoot, but if I pay the 50 dollars, I have two years to take the course and receive a license from the FCC?

Is the online course only for one class of license or can one progress through the various license classes all online?


I'm interested in this, it just is somewhat foreign to me.
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Re: Ham Radio Training Thread
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2007, 10:28:44 pm »



Sorry to be so dense Old Zoot, but if I pay the 50 dollars, I have two years to take the course and receive a license from the FCC?

Is the online course only for one class of license or can one progress through the various license classes all online?


I'm interested in this, it just is somewhat foreign to me.

I believe you would have 2 years in which to use the training material on the site.  If it took you one month to get your Tech license, then you would have 23 months left to study the more difficult material required for the General and Extra.   The material is there to progress through all the classes of license if you want to.   There is little practical reason to go from General to Extra unless you are really in to it.    When I upgraded from technician which I had held for 30 years,  I went to Extra cause I had to study anyway and felt like a challenge - but I am probably too geeky for my own good.

I wonder if several of us chipped in to pay the $50  if we could share the account.   It mentions that you might not want to do that since the "account"  keeps track of your training and progress through the courses and so two people training at the same time would interfere with each other.

I also believe that in addition to the $50 for the website training, you would need to pay the examiners their fee (currently $14 for ARRL.   

Here is how I see the costs stacking up:

Training     $50

Exam Fee   $15

2M  mobile tranceiver   $150
2M  antenna               $  40
            or
2M + 70cm  mobile tranceiver    $350
2M + 79 cn  antenna                $100
                                                                    So   technician license and base station $375 - $600

Base power supply    $ 100

To move up to general,   the training is still paid for

General test      $15                                          General license and base station  $1200

All-band radio     $ 1000
mobile antenna for old radio ( move old 2M radio to car use base 2M antenna for new all-band radio )   $50

2Meter walkie talkies are about $120  on up    dual-band 2M 70CM are about $250  on up.

Of course, you don't have to get the fancy schmancy new equipment  or even base station equipment.  A couple of handitalkies with 800 FM channels (a 2 meter radio)  is a big improvement over GMRS / FRS etc.  You could do a couple of modest 2 meter walkie-talkies  for under $250 I think.


73  ( ham talk for best regards )

OldZoot

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Re: Ham Radio Training Thread
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2007, 11:05:01 pm »



So the licensing is progressive?

That sounds pretty good actually, it could work.

Where I live though OZ, external Antennas are verbotten, there are other pretty good reasons for taking up the Lisence testing though:

1. Another skill to have, 50 dollars is a fair price for a good techincal skill.
2. I have a crush on a certain Yaesu transceiver/scanner you supposedly need a Ha lisence to purchase one, they can be bought without one, it would be nice however if I actually knew what I was doing.

Isn't there a mathematical formula to peak and tune a transceiver antenna, something about the length of the antenna decides how well it sends and receives signals?

I come from a Scanner background OZ, I'm used to listening not talking .... :laugh:

"If" one or two other TMMers are interested I'll subscribe to the testing service, if not I wouldn't mind simply taking the lower level license test and then looking for the Yaesu scanner...
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Re: Ham Radio Training Thread
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2007, 12:44:44 am »



So the licensing is progressive?

That sounds pretty good actually, it could work.

Where I live though OZ, external Antennas are verbotten, there are other pretty good reasons for taking up the Lisence testing though:

1. Another skill to have, 50 dollars is a fair price for a good techincal skill.
2. I have a crush on a certain Yaesu transceiver/scanner you supposedly need a Ha lisence to purchase one, they can be bought without one, it would be nice however if I actually knew what I was doing.

Isn't there a mathematical formula to peak and tune a transceiver antenna, something about the length of the antenna decides how well it sends and receives signals?

I come from a Scanner background OZ, I'm used to listening not talking .... :laugh:

"If" one or two other TMMers are interested I'll subscribe to the testing service, if not I wouldn't mind simply taking the lower level license test and then looking for the Yaesu scanner...


Are antennas forbidden,  or visible antennas forbidden?    One can hide an antenna in an attic or even a flagpole.  They can't forbid flagpoles, can they???  call the jackboots!!!    :laugh:    A matching network  ( a box with some variable capacitors and coils  in it ) can match a non-resonant antenna to a radio - so whatever piece of wire you can put up can work - certainly not as well as a "real" antenna, but good enough.

The math formula for the antenna is used to calculate the length in feet (or meters) of  a wavelength in the type of wire being used for the antenna at a given frequency.    By making the length of wire match the proper fraction of a wavelength (often a 1/2 wavelength for a dipole)  the antenna works best at that frequency.    The formula for a half wavelenght iin feet is 468 / frequency in megahertz.   so  for the  80 meter band ( 3.5Mhz) it is about 130 ft,  for 40 meters its about 65-70 ft and for 20 meters about 33 ft.  The easy way to think of it if you are comfortable with metric  is  1/2 the meters value of the band in question is a half wavelength.   The catch here is that the 80 meter band is not REALLY 80 meters,  but 75 or so,  it is called 80 for historical reasons, but the names get you a close enough understanding to realize how big of an antenna you can put in your attic  and where it will be resonant in terms of frequency.

The real effect of having a resonant antenna is in transmitting.  If you transmit with an antenna that is not resonant at the frequency you are working,  some of the transmitters power is reflected from the antenna back down the co-ax to the radio and it can cause problems for the radio.  In addition,  that part of the signal is not getting out and carrying your signal.  A matching network can prevent that from happening and make the radio happy with a non-resonant antenna.   A resonant one will work better however.

OZ


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Re: Ham Radio Training Thread
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2007, 09:48:59 pm »



An external antenna of any size is out of the question Zoot, but the Technicians License is appealing, 35 multiple choice questions, can be taken remotely, and the fee is nominal.

Excellent, give me a day or two and I will be up and running on that test.

At a bare minimum, I can use the experience to learn a bit more about antennas, the largest one that I can have is a Dipole.
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Question T1A02
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2007, 11:35:44 pm »

T1A02 (B) [97.1]

What is one of the basic purposes of the Amateur Radio Service as defined in Part 97?

A. To support teaching of amateur radio classes in schools [while this may be a good thing, it is not the primary purpose]

B. To provide a voluntary noncommercial communications service to
   the public, particularly in times of emergency


C. To provide free message service to the public [again, this is a good thing, but not the primary purpose]

D. To allow the public to communicate with other radio services [this is completely wrong - amateurs may not communicate with other services except in very limited emergency cirumstances]
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Question T1A03
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2007, 11:39:36 pm »

T1A03 [C] [97.501]

What classes of US amateur radio licenses may currently be earned by examination?

A. Novice, Technician, General, Advanced [the novice and advanced class licenses are no longer issued and the extra class license is not listed]

B. Technician, General, Advanced [ the Advanced class license is no longer issued and the extra class is not listed.]

C. Technician, General, Extra


D. Technician, Tech Plus, General [ The tech plus is not issued, and no extra class is listed]
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Question T1A04
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2007, 11:46:16 pm »

T1A04 [C] [97.509(b)]

Who is a Volunteer Examiner?

A. A certified instructor who volunteers to examine amateur
   teaching manuals [ This does not state that they are an Amateur, or that they administer license exams]

B. An FCC employee who accredits volunteers to administer amateur
   license exams [ This does not stat that they are an Amateur, or that they administer license exams.  An FCC employee may be a volunteer examiner - but they must be a licensed Amateur and acredited by one or more VECs - just like any other amateur]

C. An amateur accredited by one or more VECs who volunteers to
   administer amateur license exams


D. Any person who volunteers to examine amateur station equipment [ see above comments]
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QUESTION T1A05
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2007, 11:52:08 pm »

T1A05 [A] [97.505(a)(6)]

How long is a CSCE valid for license upgrade purposes?

A. 365 days

B. Until the current license expires

C. Indefinitely

D. Until two years following the expiration of the current
   license

Discussion: The CSCE is the Certificate of Successful Completion of Element and is the document that the Volunteer Examiners issue when you pass a test element.  It is submitted with the application for license or upgrade.   It is valid for 365  days.
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Re: Ham Radio Training Thread
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2007, 11:59:56 pm »

T1A06 [D] [97.509(a)(b)(3)(i)]

How many and what class of Volunteer Examiners are required to administer an Element 2 Technician written exam?

A. Three Examiners holding any class of license  [ examiners need to be general or above]

B. Two Examiners holding any class of license [ 3 examiners  - general or better]

C. Three Examiners holding a Technician Class license  [ general or better]

D. Three Examiners holding a General Class license or
   higher
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