Got my General!

Radio Club

Passed the General License exam this morning in Granite Bay, California.

General CSCE

Not that you can’t find my address, but I remove it out of habit.

I’d been studying for about a month. But last night I thought to cram for it since there was an available exam going on in the morning about 50 miles north of me. I went through the whole General Exam question pool. I was unsure of so many answers, and not even halfway through all questions, that I thought, “I’m never going to pass this thing.” There’s a bit of math and frequency allocation memorization needed, as well as understanding schematic diagrams and figuring out ohms, picofarads, and millihenries.

But I did power through the studying, referring often back to the reference material. For those interested in studying for any class license, I totally recommend the ARRL series of License Manuals. It’s probably the best way to prep for the exam.

Anyhow, waking too early for a Saturday, I got to the exam location by 8:30am and was greeted by WA6FGI Gary, an Amateur Extra VEC examiner. I showed them an official copy of my FCC Technician license and my ID, and got signed in with forms to fill out. I was then given the multiple-choice answer sheet and a test.

There were about 6-8 other people there also taking an exam, some totally new to ham radio, attempting to get their Tech. I heard one guy unfortunately not pass for General, and another person not pass, though I’m not sure for what class. Many others got congratulations and a hand-shake from the VEC examiners for getting their license (or upgrade).

I got through the exam really quickly, only pausing for 2-3 questions that I was not certain of. When I was done, three Extra class hams looked over my answer sheet and transferred it between each other for triple review. After a few minutes, one of them called me over and congratulated me on passing the General.

Another asked, “Would you like to try for the Extra license?”

I thought about the prospect of that. Buoyed by the recent victory, I told them, “I studied absolutely nothing regarding the Extra license, but sure! I’ll give it a shot!” They seemed pleased that I would try. I overheard several others who had finished and successfully passed their Technician exams decline the chance to try for the next level.

It was a longer test, 50 questions instead of 35 for the General, and significantly harder. I guessed a LOT on this one. After a good long while, I submitted the answer sheet, and several more minutes later, they told me I did not pass for the Extra level.

Well, at least I got a taste of what the next exam will be like. Time to hit the next manual and learn!

Nevertheless, I’m now an Authorized General class amateur radio operator. KF6UJS/AG. I am so thrilled! HF here I come!

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