A guest post by Brittany KE8LCA
For Jeremy’s (KF7IJZ’s) birthday this year, I finally decided to get him something he’s wanted for a long time: I was going to take the test and get my technician license. Afterall, I’m really proud of all the work Mr. IJZ and George have done here on the podcast and I want to be more supportive and engaged in the hobby (and need to start with some basic understanding). There were just a few problems I had to overcome:
Problem 1: Like all busy people, I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare. I really only gave myself about a week and half because I knew if I took a lot longer than that to study I’d forget what I had learned the week before and have to start all over anyway.
Problem 2: While I love science, the fact that radios work is absolutely magic to me - how do we live in a universe where invisible waves dart off through the air at the speed of light, sometimes bouncing off things to move around sound and data?!? Needless to say, the mechanics of radios, antennas, and all the stuff in between is baffling to me. (You’ll hear this in greater detail if you make it through this week’s episode.)
Problem 3: I’ve only been around the hobby since my husband got his license and, to be honest, a lot of that time has been spent watching children while events go on around me. Consequently, I don’t have a lot of practical experience to fall back on.
Despite all this, I succeeded (yay!) and my husband loved his gift! I owe all my success to two fantastic study aids: Hamstudy.org and KB6NU’s No-Nonsense Technician Class License Study Guide. Hamstudy.org, and the accompanying $3.99 app, is a well designed study tool. You get all the questions on the exam presented in either flashcard or practice test mode. As you use the cards and tests, it tracks your answers and lets you know your strengths and weakness. This was a great help so I could focus my time on the stuff I was struggling with. Also, as you moved through the flashcards, you could select to see an explanation for those more puzzling answers
The No-Nonsense guide is a natural companion to HamStudy.org and I personally found it useful to read the guide first before I started the flashcards. Dan has organized the guide well and since it’s free you can’t beat the price. You may think that 90+ pages is too long, but it’s well-spaced and easily digestible. It also helps you focus on the exam by giving you exam question indicators as you read through the material. Again, this helps you organize the material in your head and focus on the areas that you need to work on the most.
The only down-side to both of these is that they’re generally focused on just helping you pass the exam, rather than fully informing you of how you’ll use these concepts in the actual practice of the hobby. You’re still going to need to do some deep dives into these topics and start “messing around,” but with the many different sub-hobbies within amateur radio I’m not sure a deep dive would be possible.
73s and Best of Luck!
KE8LCA - Brittany
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