Saturday, March 2, 2013

Road to Amateur Extra

After I made my decision to upgrade my license, I started by taking an online practice test. I should say that I had a bit of an advantage over many people taking the test. I have a masters degree in Electrical Engineering. I currently work as a Satellite Engineer for a small satellite communications company. With those two advantages, and having a working understanding of amateur radio from my previous work with it, I was able to do pretty well. Just a few things I realize can get you most of the questions. If you can memorize these facts, then you are well on your way.

c=300,000,000 m/s=frequency*wavelength
1 m=3.3 ft.

What did I learn through the testing process? Here's a few of the key things:
  • I know nothing about antenna design, and it sounds like a fascinating area.  
  • Propagation is also a big thing, and I really should learn more about it.
  • There is a band plan that discusses how the bands are divided up.
  • Morse code is something that can still be useful for a Ham to know, even if it is a pain to learn.'
  • Antennas made for high frequency are really big.
  • It's not that difficult to be come certified to be an Amateur Radio Operator Volunteer Examiner, and that's something I might like to do sometime.
In short, I found that preparing for and taking the test allowed me to learn enough to  get me interested in more. I found it to be an invigorating process, encouraging me to actually go all the way and become a real Ham.

I should say that at first, my goal was only to get a General license, and not to go all the way to Amateur Extra. I found that I was able to always pass the General license tests with 2 days to go, and I thought, why not try for the Amateur Extra. I actually encourage people to do this. The Amateur Extra is more difficult, for sure, but it isn't that much more difficult. The largest difference is that you have to learn about phasors. Yes, Phasors do really exist. I'm not going to get into what they are, but Wikipedia does a fair job of explaining that.

No comments:

Post a Comment