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# 03 - Ham Radio License Cramming

As a few of you know I am currently attempting to study for my Amateur Radio FCC license examinations.

Over 30 years ago I was briefly licensed, but as soon as I received my Novice or beginners license I became too busy with the Marine Corps and family life to further my education and I allowed my license to expire and lapse. Now to get relicensed I have to start all over again back at the beginning, which is the Technician class level since the FCC has recently done away with the Novice class license.

Since when you take a license exam, you are paying $15 for the exam session and not the individual exam, you can take multiple exams for the same exam fee. Since I am a cheapskate and like to save on fees whenever I can, I will be attempting to take the Technician, General, and Extra class license exams, one right after the other, all on the same day. Or, as some may refer to it, going from zero to hero in one fail swoop.

I will be the first to admit that I am no "Spring Chicken". It has been over 30 years since I sat in a classroom as a student trying to learn anything like this, and even then, my poorest subject was always math. A while back I looked over my report cards from elementary through high school and in all of those years, I never once passed a single math class. And that was basic math, these exams include basic math as well as algebra, and geometry which are like completely foreign languages to me. I do not even understand what the symbols used in their formulas even mean or how to read them, much less how to go about trying to solve them.

As for the math portion of the exams, I have less chance of passing them than a Taliban soldier has of being elected President of the U.S.

I am attempting to study for the exams in a somewhat unorthodox manner (at least unorthodox for me) by cramming all of the information that I can get my hands on about amateur radio, electronic principles, electromagnetic waves, antenna design, ionospheric radio wave propagation, sunspots & solar flares, geomagnetic storms, and the list goes on and on and on.

For the past week I have been spending between 16 and 20 hours a day trying to cram all of this foreign information into my tiny little undernourished and neglected brain by utilizing a library of books from the ARRL, YouTube videos from other more experienced and knowledgeable amateur radio operators, an online course from, additional online published scientific information, and flash cards.

After all of this cramming of information, so far I think I still remember what my name is, but I can not guarantee anything else. My head is swimming from the information overload it has been subjected to over the past week.

Well, I have taken a long enough break, time to get back to the grindstone and liquify some more brain cells.

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