Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Looks like I know what my winter project is going to be. I'm going to study for and hopefully pass my Extra exam. I went over to the ARRL website today and ordered the book.

There are three classes of licenses available for amateur radio operators, if you don't count some of the older classes that have been grandfathered in. These are Technician, General and Extra. Right now I have a General license which allows me to broadcast on a really large segment of the amateur frequency allocation. The Extra won't give me that much more in the way of privileges but I want to earn it anyway.

The Extra question pool contains 702 possible questions from which 50 are taken and included in the test. Without getting too boring, the way it works is that the questions are grouped together by topic. The test requires a certain number of questions from each group to be on the test. Those specific questions change so the test is never the same.

The book above comes with software that allows the student to take and retake sample tests that are randomly generated, grouped and weighted just like the real test. It also allows the student to see the answers and find out where he went wrong. This system worked incredibly well for me on my Tech and General tests. I had a perfect score on the Tech and only missed one on the General. I'm not much of a student so it works.

The Extra exam is way more complicated since it focuses much more heavily on electronic theory and circuit design, areas where I'm weak. And that's the reason I'm looking forward to studying this material. If I can earn the ticket I'll have a much more solid understanding of the hobby and electronics in general.

And then maybe I can fix my radio problems.

If you're interested in what the questions look like you can find them here. Brace yourself for sudden boredom.

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