Credit: Michael (KB9VBR), Thanks for joining me on these little amateur radio adventures.Well, congratulations. You just passed your amateur radio technician license exam. I bet when you heard that news, the volunteer examiners also followed it up with the question.
Would you now like to take the general license exam?
You were probably thinking to yourself “Boy, you know I’m pretty mentally exhausted from taking the first one. Do I want to try it again? I never studied for the general exam”.
Well, should you take the test or not? I’ll talk about that in a second but first, just a little story.
So back in 1999, when I first took the exam to get my amateur radio, I went into the examination session wanting my technician plus license. So, you know I studied for the novice exam, the tech exam and have studied five words per minute code and felt pretty comfortable and all that. I was sure enough that I was able to pass all of those tests, the examiner asked, “would you like to take the general exam at this time?” I said you know, I drove two hours to get to the testing session and I said sure why not back in those days. I think if you were able to pass the novice and a technician, you had a pretty good chance of passing that general exam. The significant hardship was to get to up to that thirteen words per minute of code. So, I was able to squeak by and pass that general license written test but didn’t go on after that with the code test. Unfortunately, about six months later, the FCC restructured the license classes and dropped that thirteen words per minute code requirement, so I was able to upgrade to the general license easily.
With that little story in mind,
Why should you upgrade to your amateur radio license?
- Upgrading opens you up to new frequencies and privileges on the HF bands. This is probably the most obvious response to the elimination of all Morse code testing requirements. Today’s technician license does give you the same frequency of privileges that the old novice license had, i.e., the voice on 10 meters and also code on 15, 40 and 80 meters. So, upgrading to general gives you all that voice and data. Digital access to the HF bands opens you up to a greater worldwide level of communication.
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- Without a doubt, having a higher license helps grow your knowledge related to all things radio. The technician exam is full of the fundamentals of amateur radio that rule regulations operating procedures and basic electronics. The general and extra exams for that matter delve more into the operational modes, frequencies, and propagation that you’re going to experience as a general class or higher amateur radio operator. Now the tests all they do is lay out a framework, and the operation and practice of the bands are what gives you that understanding. So, your growth in the art and science of amateur radio relies on upgrading to the next license class level.
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- If you like to help, a more advanced license will make it easier to mentor others. For example, if you are a part of an emergency communication group, upgrading your general license will give you the skills and capabilities, enhancing your utility and making you a more valuable member of the group.
So why wouldn’t you want to advance your knowledge in radio communications by upgrading your license?
Now just for the bonus reason, you already pass the technician exam that’s in the same seating. You can take the general exam free of charge. Why wouldn’t you try it as a volunteer examiner? I’ve seen 30 to 40 percent of examinees pass their general written test in the same seating as they did with their tech test. Even if you don’t pass it, gives you a taste of what in the general license exam.
Now here is the reason,
Why shouldn’t you upgrade your amateur radio license?
If you’re comfortable with a particular license class, why you know there is no reason? So, don’t feel any pressure.
Do you have any other reason why upgrading your license is a good thing? Leave them in the comment below. We would love to hear them.