New Ham training suggestions?

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840quadra

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Greetings,

I have tasked myself with helping get a few friends setup with the skills needed for taking their VE exams. I would say that all of them are somewhat non technical, and learn most by visual / experience as opposed to sitting down and reading.

I have no problems using real equipment as visual aids, and some know quite a few of the basics after watching me use my equipment already. Honestly, I would say they are 50% taught in the practical for a Tech license just by growing up around people using the equipment.

My issue is, I don't really know what tools to use to help get them their license. I guess I am still somewhat of a younger HAM operator, but due to my work, I really didn't have to study for the tests, as the answers to most were either common sense, or understood based on my work with electronics.

Is there a good interactive training tool that I can work with online, and is using the practice tests on QRZ still a valid cue as to when you are ready for a VE exam?

Thans for any input!!
 

N5TWB

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Sand Springs OK
Greetings,

I have tasked myself with helping get a few friends setup with the skills needed for taking their VE exams. I would say that all of them are somewhat non technical, and learn most by visual / experience as opposed to sitting down and reading.

I have no problems using real equipment as visual aids, and some know quite a few of the basics after watching me use my equipment already. Honestly, I would say they are 50% taught in the practical for a Tech license just by growing up around people using the equipment.

My issue is, I don't really know what tools to use to help get them their license. I guess I am still somewhat of a younger HAM operator, but due to my work, I really didn't have to study for the tests, as the answers to most were either common sense, or understood based on my work with electronics.

Is there a good interactive training tool that I can work with online, and is using the practice tests on QRZ still a valid cue as to when you are ready for a VE exam?

Thans for any input!!
You have described typical adult learning challenges. Most adults learn best by using current knowledge as a place where they can build with new knowledge. Of course, different people will learn better by different approaches to gaining the new knowledge. Some will be by reading, others by observing, still others need the practical/hands-on example - most need a mix of approaches because the learner needs to test/apply the new knowledge in order to validate the learning has satisfied their need for the new knowledge (also a critical factor for adult learning).

Your basic instincts are taking you to a good place for helping your friends learn and join you in ham radio. I'd say the most motivating experience possible is being able to actually operate equipment with you as the control operator. This will keep the desire to learn high while also validating new knowledge. Use the basic books (W5YI, WB6NOA, ARRL) to provide the base knowledge, use hands-on examples with live equipment to apply the knowledge, validate knowledge retention with the various on-line testing tools, and send them off to the VE test when they are consistently scoring in the 80-90% range on the on-line tests. Get the license, get the gear, start operating, be part of a club that meets their interest, and start the upgrade process.
 

kb2vxa

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The tests are far less technically oriented these days of plug 'n play FCC certified equipment being geared to rules, regulations and operating practice making visual aids rather useless. It all comes down to memorizing correct answers and ignoring the rest so a Gordon West manual and highlighting pen are all you need as a teaching aid. I recommend it because of the way it's structured, I found it extremely easy and got the VE's panties all in a wad when I only took 15 minutes to get 100% on the tech exam. (;->)

"My issue is, I don't really know what tools to use to help get them their license."
The book Luke, use the boook.

"Is there a good interactive training tool that I can work with online..."
Are you looking for something that razzes you and flips the bird when you check the wrong box? (;->) Frankly a computer is a big pain in the butt compared to using only your eyes and the occasional thumb to turn the page.

"...and is using the practice tests on QRZ still a valid cue as to when you are ready for a VE exam?"
There are only three tests for each license class (the question pool is for all three) so when you can snatch the pebble from my hand Grasshopper it's time for you to take the test for real.

Just to clarify what TWB said, WB6NOA is Gordon West author of the test manuals available from the W5YI Group you can find on line and order the appropriate manual from.
 

ak4fn

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Location
Fredonia, KY
NC4FB Website has a great set of tools to use, the flash cards for each Sub element is the best.

Technician License (2010-2014)
General License (2011-2015)
Amateur Extra License (2008-2012)
Amateur Extra License (2012-2016)
Flashcards
Review Question Utility

From his page:
Study the subelements one at a time. Use the the link below to test yourself on each subelement until you are consistently scoring 85 or higher. Add the missed/unanswered question numbers displayed at the end of the tests to a review file. Periodically test yourself using the question numbers in the file with the question review facility.

subelement tests

Use the link below to test yourself on complete sample license exams until you are scoring 85 or higher on each exam. Create a separate review file to contain missed/unanswered question numbers displayed at the end of the sample exams. Use the question review facility to concentrate on the questions.

sample license exams

This is a little page I made for our ham club, which I went over the way I studied for the extra test.
 

840quadra

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Twin Cities MN, USA
Thanks folks,

Sounds like I have picked up a couple more interested parties, so having a few options will be good. I am now going to work with people ranging in age from 13 - 25 in a group of 4. So, I will need to have a mix of tools at my disposal, and will be tasking them with studying the books, asking me questions if they run into terms they don't understand, and will practice the etiquette portion on FRS radios as I did with friends prior to taking my test.

Honestly I am looking forward to this. Will be an excuse to freshen up on my skills, as well as getting a group of close friends I can talk to into HAM frequencies.
 

kb2vxa

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Sorry if I don't understand the "etiquette" thing. Right at the start I was told it's like talking face to face and the advice has done me well all along.
 

840quadra

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Twin Cities MN, USA
Sorry if I don't understand the "etiquette" thing. Right at the start I was told it's like talking face to face and the advice has done me well all along.
That is a great point, though I doubt you repeat your name every 10 minutes (or less) or use terms like QSL when having a face to face conversation :) .

For me it was to help me learn by immersion. I honestly don't think I would have known as much of the terms, or procedural things as well had I not practiced with a few well trained friends using FRS radios as a live demo. With the exception of exchanging call sign with made up handles, we behaved and acted like HAM operators.

Honestly, it was a great teaching tool the other radio operators used to help me learn fast, but it was only part of the puzzle.
 

DcotorWu

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Feb 15, 2012
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quadra, I'd have to say that the best interactive tool is a book. If the individual has an issue with reading how can they be expected to keep up on what they need to do after they are licensed? Now, this is opinion only, and we all know the old phrase....but there's another old phrase too. That one is "Give a man a fish and he eats today, teach a man to fish and he eats forever"

Spoon feeding an adult is a faulty process. It gets a short term result that lasts until about 5 minutes after the VE session.

Am I being too crusty in my old age? I don't know. I do know that I see a lot less basic literacy today than when I was younger. Seems to me that if a person can read they ought to be pointed at the resources and told to go take a big bite and chew it well.

Sorry if this misses the point, but I do not think it does. Rather than looking for new methods we could always stop ignoring the fact that the old way of learning worked pretty well. Maybe after a generation or two people would rediscover what the printed word can do for them. Afterall, it has freed more people than all the war in human history.

My feeling is that we tell the prospective ham to get a study guide, point 'em to the practice tests on QRZ, have them call or email with questions, and tell them to be ready on test day.

The hard part of getting a ham license is motivation. If one is motivated one can succeed. If someone wishes a spoon feeding and an instant license, they rightly should be told they don't have what it takes.
 

840quadra

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Location
Twin Cities MN, USA
Thanks for the continued input. I asked for advice, and am glad people are sharing theirs. We are definetly not looking for a quick license pass here, so please don't assume the worst.

It is up to them to learn, I am just here to offer them assistance during the path down, just looking for options for them to use to help them on their way.
 

Howdy_All

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quadra, I'd have to say that the best interactive tool is a book. If the individual has an issue with reading how can they be expected to keep up on what they need to do after they are licensed? Now, this is opinion only, and we all know the old phrase....but there's another old phrase too. That one is "Give a man a fish and he eats today, teach a man to fish and he eats forever"

Spoon feeding an adult is a faulty process. It gets a short term result that lasts until about 5 minutes after the VE session.

Am I being too crusty in my old age? I don't know. I do know that I see a lot less basic literacy today than when I was younger. Seems to me that if a person can read they ought to be pointed at the resources and told to go take a big bite and chew it well.

Sorry if this misses the point, but I do not think it does. Rather than looking for new methods we could always stop ignoring the fact that the old way of learning worked pretty well. Maybe after a generation or two people would rediscover what the printed word can do for them. Afterall, it has freed more people than all the war in human history.

My feeling is that we tell the prospective ham to get a study guide, point 'em to the practice tests on QRZ, have them call or email with questions, and tell them to be ready on test day.

The hard part of getting a ham license is motivation. If one is motivated one can succeed. If someone wishes a spoon feeding and an instant license, they rightly should be told they don't have what it takes.
I couldn't have said it any better.

The bottom line is the only purpose of the VE TEST SESSION is to administer the final examination.
If a person wants to do something, they will take the initiative and learn it on their own before they show up for the exam.
If you hand something to people, they tend not to appreciate it and in time it will not mean anything to them and their license will sit in a plaque and not be used and the walkie talkie they bought when they got their ticket will sooner or later die from a lack of batteries or use and you will end up with one wasted call sign.

Instead of teaching them how to pass the exam - become a ELMER and mentor them.
Being a ELMER requires knowing something about HAM Radio and not just communications.
Anytime you THINK you know it all, you will meet someone who has been in it longer then you, that knows more then you do.

Things that are simple to some people such as PSK 31, Packet, RTTY, and the dozens of other digital mediums is only but one stage in communications.
AM / FM / SSB / Echolink / building and maintaining repeaters, tower construction , doing Rice Longly calculations are all a part of Ham Radio.

Lots of things to learn . lots of things to teach...
Don't just get them a license and then hang them out to dry.
 
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