Amateur radio operations have always been the center of attention for the hobbyists worldwide. This hobby can be pursued by anyone anywhere in the world. If we talk about USA, you can begin your journey in this field by obtaining an “Amateur Technician Class” license from the FCC [Federal Communications Commission]. Once you have this, you can employ repeaters to achieve an effective 2-way FM communication over a range of hundreds of miles with no distortion. It even makes communication possible across the boundaries and even across the space through the International Space Station. But before you can expect further, you need to understand the process of becoming a successful Amateur Radio operator with special regards to the procedure followed in the USA.
For proceeding in an organized manner, experts recommend the following milestones that need to be covered for becoming an Amateur radio operator:
1. Determine License Exam Schedule in your area
Keep an eye on the schedule of exams conducted by the FCC and select the date and time that is just around the corner. Preferably it should be only three to four weeks from the date of application. It allows sufficient time for preparing for the exam. An important consideration is that whether the test requires preregistration or candidates can simply move into the venue for giving the exam. Candidates with disabilities should let the authorities know about it so that they can make the arrangements on the test day. Each exam is invigilated by the VE’s or “Volunteer Examiners”. These are actually the amateur radios operators who are more experienced and hold a higher license class than the candidates they are invigilating. VE’s perform this task totally for their love of this hobby. Though the candidates need to pay a nominal fee that is spent for arranging the testing materials, paying the rental of testing space, etc. You also need to find out what material is required of you on the test day for staying fully equipped.
2. Preparation before Amateur Radio Operator License Test
For being a successful Amateur Radio Operator, next you need to determine whether you require a formal classroom session for preparation or can manage to prepare on your own. There are many clubs that offer formal exam preparations that are followed by the actual exam. Some of them offer the quick licensing sessions that last for one or two weekends. If you find these courses too burdensome, you can always prepare on your own using the preparatory material available online.
Collect the most relevant material through online resources and book shops
Search online and also sift through the book stores in your vicinity for finding the most recent “Technician Question Pool” that has 392 questions on which the exam is based. Once you manage to discover this pool, get it printed so that you can carry it along and study whenever needed. You shouldn’t depend on the electronic study methods like tablets, PCs etc. because they will bound you to the availability of electricity. Always make sure that you know which question pool your test will be based on. It will help you save time and keep your efforts focused on the right stuff.
3. Follow the Test Format while preparing
Each license exam is based on a specific format. It consists of 35 multiple choice questions that are derived from the pool. There are 4 choices against each question, out of which only one is correct. For clearing the test, you need to answer at least 26 questions correctly. An interesting thing is that all the questions in the pool are exactly the ones that will be added to the test but their order of answers is different. So you can be confident that you already have the best help available with you. For a more systemized study, follow the following steps:
- When you will start studying the pool, you will find a key on top of each of the questions. This key identifies the right option among the four answer choices. You can check your answers by referring to this key side by side. When you are studying the pool, always focus on the right choice. You can do that by highlighting the right choices. As the questions in the pool and the exam are the same, you can depend on the pool for your preparation but never memorize the order of answers. Just learn the right answer of each question and ignore the incorrect answers completely. The key can help you a great deal.
- Revise the questions and their correct answers daily. You should give at least 30 minutes daily to this activity before Amateur radio operator license exam.
- For polishing your memory more, you can take a practice test online. There are several helpful online resources that not only have the best practice tests available but will provide you with feedback or result right on the spot. Keep taking the practice test till you achieve 80% accuracy or better. Don’t compromise for any score lower than this because it will increase your chances of scoring low in the real exam. It is also a great way to determine how you will perform on the test day.
4. Connect with Volunteer Examiner for allowing you to give a test before the test
Yes this is possible! The VE’s can be approached personally if you want to survey the venue beforehand. You can even ask for a test to be conducted in advance just to check how well you can adjust to the arrangements on the test day. In case there are any disabilities in the candidates, VE should accommodate him/her in every possible way. This pretest request can help you find out if these special arrangements have been made properly or not. So VE will help you out for getting ready for Amateur Radio operator license.
5. Give the Final Exam with confidence
When you move to the venue for the final exam session, don’t forget to take you important documents with you like any proof of identity or certificates. Submit the exam fee to the relevant personnel there before moving to the exam hall. The exam fee is very reasonable i.e. $15. The good thing about this exam session is that there are multiple chances that you can take for clearing the exam in the same session. Don’t worry if you cannot make it in the first exam. You can try again by giving another exam in the same session on the same day. You only have to pay a nominal fee for each test and can take as many chances as you prefer. But it is always recommended that you revise the pool questions again before going for the retest to boost your chances of success and for saving your money.
Things to Keep in Mind
Below are some important tips that will help you keep your exam preparations streamlined and effective:
- The American Radio Relay League(ARRL) is a renowned organization that takes lead in encouraging the Hams throughout the world and serves as a link between the Ham radio operators and the FCC. It also offers great study material that is free of cost and easily downloadable from its website. It can serve as an effective tool for boosting your success probability in the exam.
- There are various clubs established that offer exam preparation services and other Ham radio training to the newbies. They always welcome the new members no matter from where they belong. They also can lend you equipment temporarily to practice as an Amateur radio operator.
- In the USA, you need to clear three levels of licensing. Each level has its own privileges. The exam for each level is also difficult than the level below. These levels are Technician Class, General Class and Extra Class in ascending order. For the beginners, the Technician Class license is enough but you will need to have the higher license class for sophisticated Ham radio operations.
- It is recommended that when you are successful in clearing the Technician class exam, take the exams for the next two classes in the same session. It will help you save time and money as you will be able to have licenses from all three classes in the same session. You only have to make sure that you first clear the exam of the lower class. Then you should be duly prepared for the next and the higher exam. You can take all these exams in one fee i.e. $15. Take this as a challenge and you can leave the venue with the license of the highest level in one day.
Things to Avoid
A very important thing to remember is that Radio Amateurs should use their privileges very decently, wisely and within the confines of the FCC. They are not allowed to communicate harshly, informally or with foul language like the CB’ers do. An Amateur radio operator achieves his/her real status when they are able to differentiate their transmissions from the ones conducted by the CB radio operators. These steps of care and professionalism should be observed so that you can anchor your credibility in the Amateur radio community in the long run.
Choosing the best Amateur Radio
After you passed your exam, the next step is choosing the right hardware for yourself. Stryker is a big name in the Amateur radio industry. This brand has been the reason behind the success of many people for a long time and is still offering a strong way to communicate both nationally and internationally. Because of the high quality material used, dependable performance, powerful delivery, accuracy and sophisticated looks of its products, Stryker has maintained its position in the market as the most affordable innovator of the Amateur radios so far!
The best depicters of the success of Stryker are its killer SR-955 HPC and SR-655 HPC 10 meter radios. Both these radios are not only sophisticated in looks but are also functionally reliable as they can deliver outstanding performance over large distances. Their unique back-lit face-plate gives a lively outlook to the transceiver and makes it easy to operate these devices even in the most unfavorable conditions. They are the best examples of efficiency, cost-effectiveness, durability and decency packed into one body!
Stryker has always designed its products with the view of keeping pace with the challenges of the modern world. Customer service has been the forte of this brand. Stryker experts are available 24/7 for your support and you can also approach them through their official website. Their website will not only give you the most relevant information about the best radios in town but will also help you locate the best Amateur radio outlet near you.