I’m a Technician now – sort of.

You correctly answered 27 out of 35 questions for 77.1%.

Congratulations! You passed this practice exam! Contact your local VEC to take the real test.

While visiting Eham.net I accidentally ran into the page with current Amateur Exams. Technician Class seemed the best way to start. If I understand the rules correctly, you must start as a Technician – you can’t skip levels.

examI passed, but my score is low. The weak part was clearly answering questions on local US rules and regulations, of which I have hardly any knowledge. I gambled here and there, assuming things would be similar to the rules here. Well, sometimes they are, sometimes they are not. I also had to peek into an English-Dutch dictionary now and then, as some words were completely new to me.

Pointless post?
Maybe, maybe not. I can’t do such an exam and apply for a US call sign. However, because of this blog I run into a lot of unlicensed users, and more than one claimed that the exams in the USA are too difficult. I now know they’re wrong. Everyone can memorize a few rules and regulations, and Ohm’s law isn’t that hard either. If I can do it, in spite of a language barrier, everyone can do it. Or am I too harsh?

11 comments on “I’m a Technician now – sort of.

  1. You don’t have to start at Technician.
    I haven’t heard anyone say that the exam is too hard. The issues are rather in the privileges granted (CW only on HF), no operation in Europe, and the unlicensed alternatives.

    There seems to be some weird idea among American hams that there are hordes of “the wrong sort” eager to get on the precious ham bands who are mystically stopped by the license requirements. I think this goes back to memories of the 1970s and CB in the pre-cellphone days. The growth in licences has been almost exclusively with retired white men, and very few people under 30 are drooling at the opportunity to elbow their way into an electronic retirement home and chat about health problems and right-wing politics using what is widely seen as obsolete technology.

    Yeah, it must be the exam that’s keeping them away.


  2. To prepare for the Ham Radio Exam, you don’t need to buy any books, if you don’t understand something, google it.
    The syllabus PDFs below have been publicly available by Jack Tiley AD7FO.

    >Tech Class:

    Click to access Technician%20rev%202.07.pdf

    >General Class:

    Click to access 2011%20General%20%20rev%201.04.pdf

    >Extra Class:

    Click to access 2012%20Extra%20Class%20Syllabus%20rev%20106%20pdf.pdf

    These lets you know what exactly is expected of you to know for each part of the exam, The best way to prepare to the test is to read the PDF alongside with a practice exam available here: http://www.qrz.com/hamtest
    One will need to register to QRZ.com to get access, non hams can register as well.

    To find a place where to take the exam: http://www.arrl.org/exam_sessions/search
    Or here: http://www.w5yi.org/exam_locations_ama.php

    Hans, to get a US license, because of the way the FCC register licensees now (via the new Unified License System – ULS), you need to provide either a Social Security Number (SSN), or a Tax Id Number (TIN). You also need a US address to receive your license by mail.


    Tag: Studying for the ham radio exam without buying books

    • Great comment, thanks! I’ll look into these files, very interesting.

      I do have an address in the USA, and kept my phone# (which is diverted to NL now). Don’t have an American SSN nor TIN though.

      • It is not that hard to get a TIN. If you are interested, I’ll tell you how.
        I tried to make that comment as complete as I could, who knows, maybe it will help someone get their license. If you would like, you may want to take it, and put it up as a guest post by Nate (I don’t have a blog of my own), this way you can refer to it when you run into unlicensed US users.

        PS, I enjoy reading your blog, keep up the good work.


  3. Looks like usa tech examn is very easy comparing to dutch novice ! hi!

    You correctly answered 31 out of 35 questions for 88.6%. 😉

    But strange restrictions overthere.. some hf bands… only cw? with tech? 😕
    (here it was otherway around.. only full licence had to do also CW examn .. (thas obsolete btwy now)

    Ron..still SWL!

  4. Yes, I can successfully pass he tech exam without issue, general is a little more sticky and extra better. I’ve had my extra for 20 years now so you can understand how it would fade a little.

  5. I used to hear the ‘too hard’ and ‘too easy’ comments made about the ‘old’ exams in the UK – the City & Guilds Radio Amateur Exam (known as ‘the RAE’) and the morse test. People assumed that because THEY found either of these hard/easy then EVERYONE should find them hard/easy. RadCom used to be full of letters saying ‘If my friend Fred, a white-stick operator, found the morse test a doddle, then so should you’, or words to that effect.

    In fact, ham radio attracted people of all levels of aptitude. I found the technical side of the old RAE very difficult, because I wasn’t ‘science educated’ at school; I found the radio regulations easy, because I read them over to myself on a tape recorder, and then played it back to myself for hours on end. As it happened, I got a distinction in both, but I have no idea how! As for morse, I always had a plateau just below 10wpm receiving, where I let my nerves get the better of me. I could actually receive at about 18 or 20wpm random letters and numbers, but as soon as anyone sent words or q-codes, I went completely to pieces. Other people, however, might well be better than me at any of these, or worse. I’ll bet the same holds for any current exams.

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