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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an interest in learning to be a HAM operator. But wow! The books I have went straight over my head. I can be considered bright, but science was my weakest subject. My hypotheses on which wire would light which bulb, was usually wrong. :gaah: I hope I am not doomed to fail with such a weak foundation.

My dad told me to try the online practice tests just to see what my instincts said. Bad idea for me. Bombing a test will make me more nervous to learn.

Please help, if you can. I am especially open to interactive applications and things that help me see and touch. Understanding the "why" usually makes it stick for me.

Thank you for any help you can offer!
--Deb
 

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Supporting Member
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Welcome DebCath! Becoming an Amateur Radio operator can seem very daunting, but it's not. Your father is correct. If the books are giving you some trouble, the practice tests are actually a very good way to learn in what areas you need to direct your efforts.

Some practice tests wait until the end to give you a "score", while others will tell you if you were correct on each question, these are the ones that I would recommend. If you miss a question, then you can look up the information directly and see why you were incorrect. If you are worried about bombing a test, then you are think of the test wrong. Don't think of them as "exams", just think of them as another tool to learn with. There is no grading and nobody except yourself will know how you did. My wife and daughter had very similar views of the tests, but once they started taking them, learning, and applying that knowledge to them, their scores improved and they actually started to look forward to them. They actually started to compete to see who would do better, and that helped a lot.

Also, I would recommend just skipping over the parts of the test on operating frequencies until you get the other info down. Operating frequencies can be very confusing, and they are only a small part of the test. You could miss every question on the frequencies and still pass the test.

If I run across any interactive sites for learning the info, I will be sure to pass them on to you. Good luck and don't hesitate to ask questions.

73, (Ham speak for "Best Regards")
Mark, KØXXX
 

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No Effort No Rewards, Big Effort Big Rewards
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What's the best first book to get for someone wanting to get into HAM operator but doesn't even have any equipment yet???
 

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YourAdministrator, eh?
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I recently took a course in HAM radio and passed. My instructors gave me a website to hit-up and to download all the documents and videos and then to go through it all before the course. There was just under 600mb of data that was downloaded and I only had a chance to go through about 1/4 of it all. Your best bet would be to visit some of the "local" HAM-radio club's websites and see if they have stuff that will help you get the knowledge you seek.

One club that is probably close to you has a website located at: http://www.voiceofidaho.org/

Contacting them will give you local knowledge that you can easily chat with to learn.
 

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Cowboy
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Go online and download all the test questions.

Cut out each question and glue to one side of a index card. On the other side wright down the provided answer.

Then use the index cards as flash cards. The answers you know put in one pile, the ones you don't know in a different pile.

Keep going thru the ones you don't know until you have the answers memorized.

Next problem....
 

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random gibberish
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When I was studying for mine, I studied both Tech and General class using ARRL study guides and online sources. When you first look at some of the information, it really can be confusing. There's a lot of it that I still don't understand and need to go back to review/work on learning.

If you use the tests as someone else stated, to identify where your weak points are, then you can progress through it more quickly. I'd guess I studied maybe 20 hours and passed both tests.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for the great ideas! Especially k0xxx! It was exactly the frequencies that went right over my head! That was chapter one. I freaked myself right out of moving on. It is so relieving to know that!

I am a little reserved from joining the local HAM group. My dad might be there and my ignorance might be too much for him to take. :D
 

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A good philosophy

You can become a ham and it REALLY isn't to daunting a challenge.
There are various levels of being a Ham.
You will be working to become a Technician License Holder.
It is mostly about obtaining knowledge to operate correctly and it is mostly NOT about being an electronics technician.
So, what to do.
You need access to the internet on a regular basis to use the program.
First, go to here: http://www.hamradiolicenseexam.com/
Pay these people their $20 (it is on sale right now, til 9/30)
Do NOT talk to anyone about what you are doing. The only input you need at this point is included in the online program. If you tell someone something about what you are doing they will feel obligated to give you all kinds of info that you do NOT need at this time.
Practice, Practice, Practice as much as you can either at home or the library or wherever. Do it until you can pass all of the tests with flying colors.
Depending, this may take 4-5 days or 4-5 weeks depending on your available time to spend on the project.
When you have aced all the tests, find out from someone, preferably someone you do not know, and find out where you have to go to take a scheduled test at a testing session administered by a VE at an amateur radio club event.
Attend the test session by yourself. At this point you do not need the involvement of anyone or their presence at the testing session. You will DO this without assistance from any one.
After taking the test, wait for your personal results. You will most likely pass with no problem.
In the event that it wasn't your day so far, ask the VE if it is possible for you to take the test over again. If time permits, and it usually does, take the test again and again if necessary. Let THEM tell you that time has run out in the event that it does. It is no big deal if you do not make it the first time. Many, many do not make it because they DID NOT SPEND THE TIME ON THE PROJECT.
When you pass, keep it to yourself even though you are excited and wait for your license in the mail. Then, you can frame it and hang it on the wall for others to notice. Won't that be a day to remember, eh?
Sometimes, it just doesn't get any better than that................
 

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random gibberish
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This one is free: http://hamexam.org/ I used it. I don't remember if that's the site or not, but one of the free ones basically notes which types of problems you have trouble with and brings them up more frequently. At the same time, the problem types that you breeze through won't come up as often. Saves you from spending a lot of time on stuff you do know when you could spend it on the stuff you don't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!! jontwork and zombieresponder!!! Those websites are exactly what I needed!!

--DebCath
 

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Jack of all trades?
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Maybe some of you people who are knowledgeable about HAM radio could fill in some blanks for me. What is the attraction? What do you guys actually do with your broadcast ability?
 

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Jack of all trades?
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I have several of these:
http://www.amazon.com/BaoFeng-UV-5R-136-174-400-480-Dual-Band/dp/B007H4VT7A/ref=pd_cp_e_2
The tech and user support for this radio on the web (GREAT!) is why I got several.

The following links are for the UV5R but if you supply more info on your radio I am sure the info for yours is on similar websites.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/baofeng_uv5r/
http://forums.radioreference.com/amateur-radio-equipment/239880-baofeng-uv5r.html
Little known fact. The UV-5R IS Part 90 certified (FCCID: ZP5BF-5R) and legal to use on public service bands.
http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/10349
http://www.zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=94136
http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/ht/0205.html
 

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random gibberish
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Maybe some of you people who are knowledgeable about HAM radio could fill in some blanks for me. What is the attraction? What do you guys actually do with your broadcast ability?
We don't broadcast, we transmit. Not trying to be a wise guy in saying that, because that's actually how the FCC defines it. :) Broadcasting on ham radio is a no-no.

Everyone has a different reason for getting a ham license. Mine was communications where phones don't work and FRS radios won't get the job done. Some guys just do it to be part of skywarn as spotters, and others want to tap out morse code to some country halfway around the globe that has three radio operators in it. Some guys want to send pictures/data without using the internets. There are so many things that are possible, it offers something for just about everyone.
 

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Bobbb said:
Maybe some of you people who are knowledgeable about HAM radio could fill in some blanks for me. What is the attraction? What do you guys actually do with your broadcast ability?
I live in SE KS. It's rural but it's not as isolated, nor as sparsely populated as some parts of the country. The only cell service that works at my home is Verizon and it is spotty at best. Up until last month, when the phone company installed a new trunk line that allowed us to get minimal DSL and a land-line phone call that wasn't full of static, all of our communications; phone, TV, and internet had to be wireless. It was either cell phone or satellite. Both can get very expensive, have bandwidth limitations, and require infrastructure that isn't in many rural locations.

My choice to start studying for my Ham license is from a practical neccessity. The fact that it doesn't require the infrastructure that other Legal forms of wireless communications require. I've used radios during my time in the military. Distances vary based on equipment and settings, but with the right rig on both ends you can talk over great distances even in a lot of SHTF scenerio's.

It's a proven tech and a tool just like a gun, water filter, plow, etc. I like to have that independence it can give me. It will be a great morale booster for my family to be able to communicate with each other should a grid not be available.
 

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Jack of all trades?
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Same for me. Seems most anyplace I have lived (Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Nebraska, and even in Texas) has places where cell phones are useless.

I am not an isolationist. I like to be able to keep in contact with others, and amateur radio has been able to provide contact at times and in places where other means were not practical.
 

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I took a HAM class at the National Weather Service here in OK. They let us tour the building and see all the weather forecasting equipment and stuff too, so that was pretty cool. I wanted it mostly for emergencies when other communication is out. I get decent cell service, but if SHTF I think that would be out the window pretty quickly. I want to be able to get news about what is going on in other places.
 

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YourAdministrator, eh?
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I live in SE KS. It's rural but it's not as isolated, nor as sparsely populated as some parts of the country. The only cell service that works at my home is Verizon and it is spotty at best. Up until last month, when the phone company installed a new trunk line that allowed us to get minimal DSL and a land-line phone call that wasn't full of static, all of our communications; phone, TV, and internet had to be wireless. It was either cell phone or satellite. Both can get very expensive, have bandwidth limitations, and require infrastructure that isn't in many rural locations.

My choice to start studying for my Ham license is from a practical neccessity. The fact that it doesn't require the infrastructure that other Legal forms of wireless communications require. I've used radios during my time in the military. Distances vary based on equipment and settings, but with the right rig on both ends you can talk over great distances even in a lot of SHTF scenerio's.

It's a proven tech and a tool just like a gun, water filter, plow, etc. I like to have that independence it can give me. It will be a great morale booster for my family to be able to communicate with each other should a grid not be available.
You might want to consider a cell-phone superbooster ...

http://www.instructables.com/id/Cell-Phone-WiFi-Signal-Booster-Antenna/

Basically - use an old small sat.dish and position your cell in a cradle at the focal-point. Use a Bluetooth ear-piece to communicate with the far-away towers ...
 

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I know about those. In fact I have a cell signal booster aimed at my closest tower with a directional antenna. It works really well as long as I am close to my inside omni-directional antenna. The two antenna can't interfere so some planning is required. It's a little more complicated than the dish but gets better results. And you can put he directional antenna high on a tower for better coverage.

Sorry if I didn't come across as clear on my point. I am not the best speaker.

I live in a populated rural area and the infrastructure sucks. I have ways around it but it takes more time and effort. I know there are places in this country with worse communications infrastructure than where I live. And without some preparation someone going into those areas won't be able to communicate now, let alone in a shtf scenerio.

I live only a few miles from the county seat, a town of somewhere around 20k I believe. On good days my cell reception is crap unless I take my own extra steps. With ham you can have a small portable HF rig that, if setup correctly, can at bare minimum reach several counties away. I like having the backup.
 
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