Ham Radio License in a Day

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With the aviation frequencies we use for air-to-air communication (123.3MHz and 123.5MHz) becoming more crowded, a growing number of sailplane and hang glider pilots …

… are turning to Amateur (or HAM) Radio for more spectrum.

Today I attended what can only be described as a one day crash course constructed for the sole purpose of passing the FCC’s test for an Amateur Radio License.

The class, which cost $25, was sponsored by the College of San Mateo Electronics Technology Department and the South County Amateur Radio Emergency Services.

The test consists of 35 randomly selected questions from a bank of a few hundred. Like all tests issues by federal government agencies, the questions and answers are known and published in advance. They’re even available on-line.
The Strategy

The cramming (err, I mean “study”) process is fairly straightforward. The “rules” are as follows:

  1. the test questions are printed on 60 pages
  2. study a set of 10 pages worth of questions for 45 minutes
  3. read the question and the correct answer only
  4. do not think or try to reason out the right answer, just read
  5. take a 15 minute break after each session
  6. after 6 sessions (and a mid-day lunch) take the test

Using that method, I took the 35 question multiple choice test and scored correctly 33 of 35 questions (94%). You can miss as many as 9 and still pass (70% is the minimum passing score).

The system works. You don’t learn a lot doing it, though I did pick up more than a few facts along the way. But for my purposes, this gets me a license. And now I can legally operate my new Vertex VXA-700 Transceiver.

Oh, I suspect that all of the 30-40 people at today’s class passed.

I’ll likely attend a “HAM Orientation” class at some point, which covers the basics of radio protocol, terminology, and so on.

Jeremy Zawodny is the author of the popular Jeremy Zawodny’s blog. Jeremy is part of the Yahoo search team and frequently posts in the Yahoo! Search blog as well.

Visit Jeremy’s blog: Jeremy Zawodny’s blog.

Ham Radio License in a Day
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  • george

    just went with my brother ot the v.e testing . and he failed badly. right 21 out of 35 there. is there anyways he can score better next time on his technician license next testing . he said that the question pertaining foreign language there was not in the arrl manual there.w hy..he takes the test in week and a half from now. any ideas ?? i thought that old novices like my brother can grand father to the new element 2 techie license there..

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