Passed my Tech, missed my General by this |-| much!

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bwilborn

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Went and took my license test today. Passed my Tech exam with a 34/35. I've only been studying for the General since Tuesday, but decided to take the test anyway. Missed it by one question (darn). Ah well, at least I get my ticket! I suppose in a couple of weeks I'll have studied enough to pass my General, so not too big of a deal.

Hoping to get a radio soon and get on the airwaves!

-- B
 

r_eugene1

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Congratulations. Keep working and studying, it will get it. I am currently studying for my Extra exam. Hopefully I can take my exam soon.
 

pinballwiz86

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Not enough time to re-test for the General? Usually if you come that close the VE team will let you re-take it for another $15.

At any rate, congratulations! Do you have an idea of what kind of radio you're gonna get?
 

teufler

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keep practicing with the tests at Callsign Database by QRZ.COM they have the practice exams that are made up from the test pool of questions. Test enough, you eventually see every question that is in the pool. Once knew a ham that took the extra 10 times before he passed.
 

SCPD

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You can still get on 6 meters and 10 meters as a technician....thats HF.
Also CW mode in portions of the other HF spectrum.
But do study and pass the general.
Good luck and enjoy the hobby,and most importantly use all our bands! even 220MHZ.
 

bwilborn

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Not enough time to re-test for the General? Usually if you come that close the VE team will let you re-take it for another $15.
Nope, no offer to re-test. The first guy who graded my test's response was "Ugh, aw man. Missed it by ONE." It's OK though, The extra week or two of study I'll get before I'm able to take it again should be plenty.

At any rate, congratulations! Do you have an idea of what kind of radio you're gonna get?
Not too sure about the radio. Definitely going to be an HT at first. I was thinking either an Icom ID-51A (for the D-Star) or a Yaesu VX-8DR (for APRS). I'm leaning toward the Yaesu since my HRO in Denver has them in stock and there's a $60 mail in rebate on them good until the end of the month which will put the cost at about $400 or so including the tax. It also looks to be usable across the most number of bands and that Bluetooth option sure looks handy. I've also been looking at the Baofeng BF-F8HP because it's really inexpensive, but I've always found that especially with electronics, you usually get what you pay for.

@teufler : I've been using the "Amateur Radio Exam Prep" apps on the iPad. It's a really well done app and is only $5 for each test. It allows you to take custom tests, tracks your progress for each Subelement so you can see what you still need to work on and also has a section where you can go through all of the Part 97 rules and regs. I used it for the Tech exam and it obviously worked. :)

As far as taking the Extra: I think that's going to have to be a project for 2015. I still have to study and take the three tests to get my Cisco CCNP Route and Switch certification for work (mid-level IP networking certification, for those not in the know). Those three tests are orders of magnitude harder than either of these two HAM tests, and I've got to get them all done by January 31st before they change to the new test format. If I do pass though, that means more money for daddy to buy some himself some new toys!

-- B
 

AK9R

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I was thinking either an Icom ID-51A (for the D-Star) or a Yaesu VX-8DR (for APRS).
I would steer you towards the Kenwood TH-D72 instead of the Yaesu.

The Kenwood has an internal GPS receiver. With the Yaesu, the GPS receiver is an extra cost option that attaches outside the radio. If you are price shopping, make sure you take this into account.

Kenwood allows you full access to the internal TNC so you can use the TNC for other things besides APRS, such as packet. Kenwood also has provisions for sending the received packets to an external GPS, such as the AvMap G6, so you can see the received APRS position reports on a map. The Yaesu has neither of these features.

And, speaking as someone who owns both a Kenwood TH-D72 and a Yaesu VX-8GR (which is no longer in production), the user interface on the Kenwood is a lot friendlier.
 
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teufler

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I would look for a mobile before an ht. HT's are like a portable computer. They are handy but don't have the guts that the desktop units have. 5 watts is about the max, while 50-75 watts is what you get on a mobile. I have the agree the Kenwood seems to be better for mobile ops as the screen is larger, important while mobile. So just like the computer world, desk tops were first, then we got portables for travel .IOf you want to receive, with at ht, the stock antenna will hear close in repeaters but we all have gone to 1/4 wave antennas for out in the field. In mobiles, a good cross band mobile comes in handy when you do get a ht, as the ht will reach your mobile and the mobile will "reach out" much better. The Chinese HT's are not a duty radio but can last along time with some "protection".
 

bwilborn

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Ahhh, so many choices! I have a feeling that it's going to be an arduous process picking my first radio. I appreciate the input...keep it coming! It would appear I have some research to do still.

-- B
 

vagrant

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I vote for the Kenwood TH-D72A too. Spend some money on a quality mobile antenna that you can use now with the HT. That 5 watts will go a long way with an external antenna, besides you can use the antenna later with a mobile radio. Kenwood sells a microphone for the TH-D72A as well, which would make it easy to use when mobile. I know this first hand, as it is an easy option to setup in a rental, or friends car. If you find you use it often while mobile, you should consider the PG-3J lighter plug for power.

I upgraded the stock antenna to a Diamond rubber duck, but I use a SMA to BNC adapter. The TH-D72A makes it easy to send APRS via the ISS, or FM through SO-50 with an ELK log periodic antenna.

Do not put off getting your General. I also wish you well on your Cisco certs. You will need the money when you step into the world of HF, once you have that General license.
 

KG4NEL

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APRS and D-Star are fairly specific niches - I'd make sure you've been acquainted with both in action first, so you know you'll get the best use out of the more expensive radios required to use them.

Analog-only dual band HTs are cheap, even the non-Chinese ones.
 

k6cpo

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Not enough time to re-test for the General? Usually if you come that close the VE team will let you re-take it for another $15.
I think some VE teams take unfair advantage of the FCC rule alowing them to charge for administering the exam. My particular VEC charges $5.00 for an exam session and the candidate can take as many exams as allowed for that single fee. Charging $15.00 per examination administered is excessive.
 

KW4HKY

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Unless you live in the shadow of the repeater you might want to reconsider the HT. 5 watts with basically no antenna is no fun. Especially for those trying to hear you.

Congrats on the ticket.
 

khooke

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Congrats on passing your Tech! When I took mine last year I was offered to try the General too and so tried it, even though I hadn't prepared for it and got about 50% I think. I left rather upset that I didn't pass and had to remind myself that I had just passed the Tech! So rather like your situation.

I studied the General materials for another month and then took it and passed. At the time I'd made up my mind that I was more interested in getting the General and getting on HF to work some DX, so I didn't get my first radio until after I passed General and jumped straight to HF. I did get a VHF/UHF HT several months later to join in on the local club nets, but I personally find HF much more interesting.

There's plenty of variety in the hobby, so try a few things and work out what it is that you're interested in before you spend a bunch on your first radio!
 

bwilborn

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Oh my god, why didn't someone warn me? SO MANY TOYS I want to buy...so many things I want to try...

I'm actually waiting for my vanity callsign application to get approved before I take my General, so that way I've got it all sorted out for the testing paperwork. All well and good since it's given me time to study and I'm doing a lot better on the practice tests.

Any idea how long it usually takes to approve a vanity application?

-- B
 

KW4HKY

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Oh my god, why didn't someone warn me? SO MANY TOYS I want to buy...so many things I want to try...

I'm actually waiting for my vanity callsign application to get approved before I take my General, so that way I've got it all sorted out for the testing paperwork. All well and good since it's given me time to study and I'm doing a lot better on the practice tests.

Any idea how long it usually takes to approve a vanity application?

-- B
30 days.
 

bwilborn

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Ah, that long eh? I figured it might be quicker than that since I took my Tech exam on a Saturday and was in the DB with my initial callsign by Thursday. I think I'll be ready for the General test by the next test session that's close to me on 10/4; all things considered, I may not wait and just take it and do all of the paperwork with my current call sign when I pass it.

-- B
 

AK9R

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My suggestion is not NOT have multiple applications in process with the FCC at the same time. If you intend to take the General exam within a few weeks, do that first. Once the FCC processes your upgrade, then apply for a vanity license.
 

bwilborn

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My suggestion is not NOT have multiple applications in process with the FCC at the same time. If you intend to take the General exam within a few weeks, do that first. Once the FCC processes your upgrade, then apply for a vanity license.
Ah, I guess I'll wait to take the test then. I applied for my vanity the day after my callsign appeared in the database, so it's already been in process for a little under a week.

-- B
 
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