I’m such a HAM

Years ago, Dad and I attended meetings for Amateur Radio at the local Red Cross building in Jeffersonville. We both worked through passing the 5 words per minute Morse Code and test to get our Novice license and then studied and passed the test for Technician Class. I was licensed in 1990 and expired in 2000. Just when I was starting work in the “Real World”, outside of college. I didn’t bother renewing.

A thread on a board I frequent about members who were HAMs (a nickname for Amateur Radio Operators) made me think it might be fun to get my license again. A test was being given in Franklin on the 18th (after the monthly meeting of the Mid-State Amateur Radio Club). I decided to go for it.

The classes used to be Novice, Technician, General, Advanced, and Extra. And they required Morse Code (CW). Now the classes have been simplified to Technician, General and Extra. Code is no longer needed for any of the classes.

I didn’t have too much time to study, but I went anyway. A large portion is electronics, so I hoped the Electrical Engineering degree would we worth something for that.

I felt like I knew every answer. And it turned out that I did. 100%. Then they mentioned that you can take the next level test for free, because you had already paid the $15 exam fee for the day. Why not?

The General Class exam was also 35 questions and I didn’t get all of them correct. But I did get enough to pass. Surprise. “Do you want to take the Extra Class exam?” they asked.

Well, why not?

The Extra had 50 questions and asked about many regulations of which I had no clue. I also tried to pull the knowledge of reactive power and polar coordinate description of complex power out of my mind’s archives. I missed 19. You had to miss only 13 to pass. I didn’t think it was going to be that close. It really would have been crazy to get through all the possible exams in one day, without studying much.

By the end of the week, I should be in the FCC database as a General Class Licensee. Now I feel like I should go ahead and take the Extra Class test with some studying. Why not do it before I really learn my new call sign? Then I don’t have to worry about it every changing again.

I wonder when the next test is going to be…