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Posted: 4/28/2014 12:38:57 PM EDT
I've been toying with the idea of getting my HAM license for some time, mostly for my vehicle if I'm off-roading. Anyways, without doing any studying or any knowledge of radios, I took a practice test on the QRZ website and scored a 63%. Obviously, the ones I missed were mostly acronyms specific to HAM radios which I'd have no way of knowing.

Are the practice tests accurate to the HAM license tests and if so, do most people pass the first time?
Link Posted: 4/28/2014 12:44:25 PM EDT
Originally Posted By dispatch55126:
I've been toying with the idea of getting my HAM license for some time, mostly for my vehicle if I'm off-roading. Anyways, without doing any studying or any knowledge of radios, I took a practice test on the QRZ website and scored a 63%. Obviously, the ones I missed were mostly acronyms specific to HAM radios which I'd have no way of knowing.

Are the practice tests accurate to the HAM license tests and if so, do most people pass the first time?
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Yes, they are verbatim in fact, both question and answer choices as those items are publically released.

The first time? All depends. It's not made to be difficult, simply ham related.
Link Posted: 4/28/2014 12:55:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/28/2014 1:01:37 PM EDT by Jupiter7200]
Originally Posted By dispatch55126:
I've been toying with the idea of getting my HAM license for some time,
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Quit fooling around. Girls can do it.

Seriously, there are young kids that have licenses. I'll IM some study suggestions that if followed will get you licensed.

... do most people pass the first time?
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Yes, a high percentage of those that come here for advise pass the Tech, more than 90% I'd estimate. Even better, of those, a very high percentage, probably more than 75% pass the General, too, IF they have also studied the General. And a high percentage pass all three.
Link Posted: 4/28/2014 1:11:52 PM EDT
Originally Posted By dispatch55126:
I've been toying with the idea of getting my HAM license for some time, mostly for my vehicle if I'm off-roading. Anyways, without doing any studying or any knowledge of radios, I took a practice test on the QRZ website and scored a 63%. Obviously, the ones I missed were mostly acronyms specific to HAM radios which I'd have no way of knowing.

Are the practice tests accurate to the HAM license tests and if so, do most people pass the first time?
View Quote


Do it! It's fun and its relatively easy. Don't take just your Tech though, at least do General to get on HF.
Link Posted: 4/28/2014 1:32:31 PM EDT

When you are passing 10 in a row of the QRZ tests your chances are very good at the real exam. The larger the question pool, the more practice tests should be done before testing. This improves exposure to more of the question pool. 73,
Rob
Link Posted: 4/28/2014 1:46:11 PM EDT
I found that the QRZ practice exams do a decent job of rotating questions.
When I took my Tech and General, I used the eham practice exams, and was getting 95+ every time. When I took the exams, I was shocked to see several questions on each that I have flat out never seen before.
Not a big deal, as I can not what the score was (so long as it was passing), but it was quite the eye opener. For Extra, I did QRZ.
Link Posted: 4/28/2014 2:02:08 PM EDT
Hams are generally self promoting of the hobby but I wonder if a mobile ham 2 meter rig would do you as much good as a decent CB rig.

Putting an HF rig into a car is not really a good idea for a non-techie and really isn't reliable communication because mobile HF antennas are a compromise at best and the name of the HF game is antennas.

As for a 2 meter rig which most of us have, it depends mainly on repeater availability. If you are out of repeater range there is very little activity on the simplex channels and 2 meters is VHF and line of sight.

For emergency use and commo to your fellow off roaders maybe a good CB is the way to go. I generally hate CBs but they are really more useful for emergency communication simply because there are more people using them.

Link Posted: 4/28/2014 4:06:06 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By piccolo:
Hams are generally self promoting of the hobby but I wonder if a mobile ham 2 meter rig would do you as much good as a decent CB rig.

Putting an HF rig into a car is not really a good idea for a non-techie and really isn't reliable communication because mobile HF antennas are a compromise at best and the name of the HF game is antennas.

As for a 2 meter rig which most of us have, it depends mainly on repeater availability. If you are out of repeater range there is very little activity on the simplex channels and 2 meters is VHF and line of sight.

For emergency use and commo to your fellow off roaders maybe a good CB is the way to go. I generally hate CBs but they are really more useful for emergency communication simply because there are more people using them.

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This is wat has held me back so far. I understand the advantages of HAM over CB but CB is still more popular on the trails.
Link Posted: 4/28/2014 4:25:10 PM EDT
You have to ask yourself what it is you want to accomplish.

I am willing to bet the trails you are on have some type of repeater coverage. If that is the case then no CB will out preform your hand held battery powered radio.

Yes the user base for CB is larger but the signal is still only a 4w AM signal, it can only do so much. Combine that with every bubba running dual fire sticks that are in some kind of phasing limbo do to mix match coax, mic gain set to 11 and general lack of knowledge of radio procedures you are not going to get far.

There is nothing saying that you can't "get both". I carry a hand held scanner on road trips just to listen to CH19 if I have to.

HF mobile might be a different beast but it isn't impossible. You won't win any contest but you will be able to make contacts. Even as much as a 40' wire strung out to a tree or bush just a few feet off the ground will let you talk all over the state and possibly farther.

Nothing in radio is new. Your cell phone has to operate on the same principles that Marconi used. Modulations come and go, but heating the atmosphere stays the same.
Link Posted: 4/28/2014 4:43:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 4/28/2014 4:48:22 PM EDT by Frank_B]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By gcw:...HF mobile might be a different beast but it isn't impossible. You won't win any contest but you will be able to make contacts. Even as much as a 40' wire strung out to a tree or bush just a few feet off the ground will let you talk all over the state and possibly farther...
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That's the truth. I'm in northeast TN and was chatting on 20 Meters with a mobile in south FL. We were both running 5 Watts but using CW (code).

I'd say to go with both 2 Meters and CB. CB will generally get out a lot better if you use a properly tuned full length (102") stainless steel whip rather than a shortened (~4') antenna.
Link Posted: 4/29/2014 2:40:17 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Frank_B:

That's the truth. I'm in northeast TN and was chatting on 20 Meters with a mobile in south FL. We were both running 5 Watts but using CW (code).

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You were talking with a mobile doing CW?

Damn, and I thought texting and driving was dangerous.
Link Posted: 4/29/2014 3:10:04 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Dr_Dickie:
You were talking with a mobile doing CW?
Damn, and I thought texting and driving was dangerous.
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Back in the day my Uncle Fred could work CW on a leg key, drive a 3 in the tree and carry on a conversation with me.

You gotta remember he trained OSS agents during WW2. He was recruited because of his ability to punch out a zillion words /minute. There's a pretty cool story behind that I'll tell sometimes.

CW with a leg key for someone that knows their shit is FAR less dangerous than texting.

Incidentally the boat anchors he ran back in the day were wierd by today's standards.. From the trunk of his Chevy you could hear all kinds of dynamotors whirring and all sorts of other stuff. It generated enough heat to melt the snow off his trunk lid in the middle of the winter! IIRC they were military rigs he had put to ham use.
Link Posted: 4/29/2014 6:24:54 AM EDT
Here out west I'm not seeing where CB does better than a 2M or 440 rig. We have a plethora of mountain top repeaters where you will get wide coverage. Some even 100 miles from the repeater.

I can see in parts of the "flatter" regions where tower mounted repeaters that don't get that sort of range where CB might have a slight edge with ground/over the horizon advantage along with plethora of truckers monitoring (although they are declining in numbers).

If off road comms/emergency mobile comms is the objective, then why not both, or "all of the above"? Go big or go home.

There are mobile HF/VHF/UHF radios. With a simple mod they become CB capable. And before we get in to it, emergency comms as in life or limb, means all frequencies can be used!

Although I'm more in to the hobby now, I started in to ham solely for the same reason. Even today, I don't see a CB as reliable over a 2M/440. After 17 years a tech I finally upgraded to a General. Prior to all that it was CB in my Jeeps/FJ40. And unequivocally ham outperformed CB.

I will stand my ground and proclaim a ham ticket is the best bang for your buck. Specifically, get a General class and a radio capable of "all of the above" and you will no longer wonder or worry about emergency comms.

Or go simple and get your tech license and get a 2M AND a CB rig.
Link Posted: 4/29/2014 7:21:53 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By piccolo:

Putting an HF rig into a car is not really a good idea for a non-techie and really isn't reliable communication because mobile HF antennas are a compromise at best and the name of the HF game is antennas.


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I rarely disagree with you Pic, but I do this time. My mobile station is FAR superior to my home station. I've only experimented with dipoles as of yet, but none of them work a fraction as good as the screwdriver antenna on my car. HF mobile is a blast!

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