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Ham I Am

I am now officially KG7LEA for the next ten years! A week ago I took and passed my amateur radio Technician Class exam, one wrong answer out of 35. I checked this morning and the FAA database has my call sign listed and I am free to transmit on any of the authorized frequencies.

I am mostly interested in ham radio to be able to help out in the event of an emergency. I’ve trained as a NERT in San Francisco, as a CERT in Seattle, and have drilled with the local volunteers with general band radios. The ham license now allows me to participate in the local auxiliary communications system. We have an annual drill coming up and I have been learning the ins and outs of their procedures and special software to send reports.

But the first step was the Technician exam. There are several thick study guides with tons of sometimes-dense information on rules and regulations, procedures, electricity, electronics, antennas, safety, and other stuff. The exam is 35 questions drawn from a pool of over 300. Fortunately there are apps in addition to the book to help with study. I took practice tests with my iPad while watching television from the sofa. I won’t pretend to be able to calculate the decibel increase in an antenna, but I know what International Telecommunications Union region we are in (number 2) and the fact that you cannot broadcast music on an amateur frequency (unless incidental to a broadcast from a space station). Now that I know how the exams work I’m studying for the next level, General.

So if you see my call sign on my license plate, on Lorraine’s license plate, on business cards, a baseball cap, a tavern jacket, or in body art, that’s what it is.

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