Failed the General Test, Next Steps

Jul 8, 2019

Last Wednesday, July 3, was the last session of the Technician course put on by San Lorenzo Valley ARES. It was a really good course. I learned a lot, and I collected a lot of great resources and local contacts that should help me make more progress.

SLV ARES also offered the FCC tests last Saturday, July 6, in Felton. Since I already passed the Technician test, I thought I'd try the General test, even though I had spent only a few hours prepping for the General through HamTestOnline, recommended by the SLV ARES instructors and several of my fellow students, who said they found it very helpful and smartly designed.

So Saturday I biked up to Felton and took the General. I missed 10 of 35 questions, so I failed by one question! No problem. I already learned a lot, and now I know what to expect from the test. I'll finish the prep and find another exam when I can.

I struggle with stuff that requires memorization, like the details of the Amateur Bands. I'm not yet comfortable relating the colloquial names of the bands, like "2 meters" and "70 centimeters," to the exact boundaries in megahertz, how the bands are divided up for various uses, and which pieces of each band are allowed for each license. As a computer programmer, that's the kind of detail I don't try to remember, instead relying on reference materials day to day. Which makes it hard to prep for a test where I won't be allowed to have my notes at hand!

But I'm sure I can work up to passing the test, then try to forget everything and go back to using references.

Today I received a Diamond K400S mount and NR-770HB antenna for the rear hatch on my Westy. The instructions are a bit sparse, so I sent an email to the K6BJ email list asking for a friendly Elmer to advise me. I'm hoping to have the antenna set up in time for DWeb Camp next week, up the coast in an area with little cell coverage. We'll see!

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