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“…the best way to prepare for a test might be to master the material it purports to cover, rather than amassing a series of tricks and hacks around the act of test taking.” Jason Tanz, Wired, 2 Jun 2015
Studying for your Ham Radio License
The Technician License is the gateway to amateur radio. And it’s within your reacheasily! Watch this short video to learn how. It tells you what self-study book to buy, where to get it, how to study it, and takes you through the introductory chapter.
See what other people think of this approach!
Guided Self Study
Although the book is self study, sometimes it’s helpful to have a guide. Out here where I live in Southwestern Colorado, there aren’t very many people, let alone hams! That’s why I’ve created this video guide to your self study. It’s in convenient chunks of short videos followed by short sections of self study. Enough! let’s watch the video!
The links I talked about
The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual, (Fourth Edition) is a mandatory adjunct to this course. In fact, it is the course! These videos give you an overview of the sections you’ll be studying, along with a few videos of how things actually work. Each video introduces a section of the Manual, which you then study. Try out the test questions, then come back for the next video.
You can get the manual using the following advertisement from Amazon.
It’s the same price there as from www.arrl.org, but at Amazon it qualifies for free shipping, which will save you several dollars.
Wherever you see a mouse symbol in the manual, you can go to www.arrl.org/ham-radio-license-manual for more information.
If you have a question about any section, simply post a comment on YouTube under that particular video. Or, use this link to this website’s question page: Ask Dave. Others may have the same question! I’ll post my reply to every question.
All the videos
All the new videos listed below have a direct link to YouTube. You can use your browser’s “back” button to return to this list. The videos are numbered the same way the sections are numbered in the license manual. Good luck! (As an aside, all of these videos are available on a YouTube Playlist shown below the video list.)
NOTE NOTE NOTE: The URLs for ALL of the Tech videos have changed to the ARRL YouTube page. The links below to take you there.
- Chapter 1, Welcome to Amateur Radio (T2).
- Section 2.1, Radio Signals and Waves (T3), for video click here. (Okay for use with 4th edition)
- Section 2.2, Modulation (T4), for video click here
- Section 3.1, Electricity (T5), for video click here.
- Section 3.2, Components and Units(T6), for video click here
- Section 3.3, Types of Radios and Radio Circuits (T7), for video click here.
- Section 4.1, Propagation (T8), for video click here.
- Section 4.2, Antenna Fundamentals (T9), for video click here.
- Section 4.3, Feed Lines and SWR (T10), for video click here.
- Section 4.4, Practical Antenna Systems (T11), for video click here. Also, see this excellent video by K7AGE that walks you through building your own inexpensive outdoor 2-meter ground plane antenna.
- Section 5.1, Transmitters and Receivers (T12), for video click here.
- Section 5.2, Digital Communications (T13), for video click here.
See also this video about using packet radio bulletin boards.
- Section 5.3, Power Supplies and Batteries (T14), for video click here
- Section 5.4, RF Interference (RFI) (T15), for video click here
- Section 6.1, Contact Basics (T16), click here for video.
- Section 6.2, Band Plans (T17), click here for video.
- Section 6.3, Making Contacts (T18), for video click here.
- Section 6.4, Using Repeaters (T19), for video click here
- Section 6.5, Nets (T20), for video click here
- Section 6.6, Emergency Communications (T21), click here for video
- Section 7.1, Licensing Terms (T22), for video click here
- Section 7.2, Bands and privileges (T23), for video, click here
- Section 7.3, International Rules (T24), for video, click here
- Section 7.4, Call Signs (T25), for video click here.
- Section 8.1, Control Operators (T26), for video click here
- Section 8.2, Identification (T27), for video click here
- Section 8.3, Interference (T28), click here for video.
- Section 8.4, Third-Party Communications (T29), for video click here.
- Section 8.5, Remote and Automatic Operation (T30), click here for video
- Section 8.6, Prohibited Transmissions (T31), for video click here.
- Section 9.1, Electrical Safety (T32), click here for video
- Section 9.2, Managing RF in Your Station (T33), click here for video
- Section 9.3, RF Interference (RFI) (T34), click here for video
- Section 9.4, RF Exposure (T35), click here for video.
- Section 9.5, Mechanical Safety (T36), for video click here.
- Preparing to take your examination, for video click here.
By popular demand, here are all the Tech videos in an ordered playlist.
What do you do when you’re ready to take the test?
Go to www.arrl.org/exam_sessions/search, enter your zip code, and search for one in your area. Good luck!
Yes I want your comments!
No instructional course is ever complete, nor is it perfect. Please comment! Please put the comments right on the same post as the video you’re commenting about. Don’t worry, I see them all!
There’s probably a ham radio club near you. Go to www.arrl.org/find-a-club to locate a club near you. Attend their meetings and introduce yourself. You’ll find yourself instantly among friends. And your new friends can provide assistance as you study for your test. After you pass your test, they can help you get on the air, too. Enjoy!
The audio from the title page
I’ve had a request for the audio that accompanies the title in each video. It’s quite a mishmash of several recordings. I rendered it out as a single file, which you may listen to by clicking near the very left of the audio player (it’s black on black, for some reason).
Or you may download it by right clicking on this: Technician Video Start Audio and selecting the appropriate item to save the file (for Chrome it’s “Save Link As…”). Never fear, if you accidentally left click on it, just use your browser Back button to return to this page.
Dave – Thanks for your ‘real world’ approach to the material. In reference to Kevin Gallaway’s comment from March of 2021. The links are still not correct. Several of the links take you to videos that are not aligned to the Section indicated. If you are not going to update that list, I would recommend that you just delete it and leave the reference to the YouTube playlist.
All the best,
Good Morning Dave,
I just received my FCC License, KC1PLZ. Thanks for posting your videos for the Technicians Level. They were of significant help in understanding the material in the ARRL Ham Radio License Manual.
I plan to immediately begin study in preparation of upgrading my license to the General Class. I will be using your YouTube videos as supplement.
Dave – this is a wonderful program thanks. Just wanted to let you know that the links on this page are out of sequence beginning around Section 5. They sometimes direct the viewer to a different video than advertised in the link. Kevin
Appreciate all your videos along with time and effort to provide all this useful info to the ham community. Although I have watched many of your videos, I may have missed a segment covering the tuning up a transceiver for a CW or SSB session. I currently try to find a frequency that is not occupied and then tune with my auto tuner. (I am using an Icom 7300 with a LDG autotuner). Am looking to buy a dummy load avoid tuning on a frequency that may be in use. But would appreciate some help here. Have any of your videos covered this basic operation? Just want to be courteous and compliant. 73 and Thanks.
KD8RGW, Phil in central Ohio
I have been using your study videos to try for my license, I am on Libertyrush.com and we have alot of ham radio people and groups, I would like to welcome you to come on over
In your Chapter 1 Technician video starting at 4:25 and at 4:30 you state that Field Day is the last full weekend in June. However, it is the fourth full weekend in June. This year is a perfect example, June 22-23, 2019.
I took my tech exam today and passed. Thank you so much for passing on your knowledge and experience. I listen to your video on my drive to and from work. They are an outstanding resource to anyone. Keep them coming.
want to study for technician 1 license on-line
Fred, thanks for your comments. The TYT UV8000E seems to be a nice radio. I was impressed with it while reviewing it, with, of course, the exception of the manual and the cable with the down-level Prolific chip. You can use this link (click here) to buy the radio in such a way that I get a small part of it. With regard to a base rig, I use a Yaesu FT-7800. It’s a very simple dual-band 50-watt analog radio. The current version is the FT-7900. Good luck! 73, Dave
Thank you for the videos for the Technician Class Ham License! I watched all of them before obtaining the book, so I know that was out of order. However, the videos encouraged me to believe learning the material was something I could do and enjoy doing as well. So, I got the book and studied it. I took the exam today and got all the answers right. Now I’m revved about going for the General Class license. This time, I plan to watch your videos in sync with studying the book, as prescribed. I have found your presentations and especially your demonstrations of the equipment and operations very interesting and helpful. So, thank you again for putting all of this together.
I now need to obtain a radio. I have checked out your review of the TYT UV8000E. I tried clicking on the link on your page to the site for buying one, but the link did not work. So, you may want to check that out. I’ve also seen mention of a TYT UV8000SE, but I don’t see it available anywhere. Did that turn out to be a failed product?
Do you have a recommendation for a first-timer’s multi-mode base station? I’m starting to learn CW and would like something that supports that mode for sure.
Hi Ed, the three DVDs together cover the existing Technician videos only (it takes 3 discs to hold all the tech videos). The Tech material has changed very little since these videos were created, but you are correct that they were created for the 2nd edition of the ARRL License Manual, which was replaced on July 1st, 2014 with the third. The videos do not cover the general and amateur extra class license manuals. I am currently updating the Amateur Extra videos to match the 11th Edition of the manual. I’m putting up several a week. I’m toying with putting those on DVD when I’m finished. It will likely take more than 3 discs, though! Hope that helps. 73, Dave
My question is, are the DVD’s for all classes of licenses up to date with the new question pools? I have looked at some of the videos and they are not. I don’t want to get old material. If everything is up to date then I want all 3 sets of the DVD’s.
Ed Harwood, W5CVE
Marvin, please feel free to use the videos during your class. If you don’t have Internet service where you’re teaching the class, you can get the entire set of Tech videos on DVDs (click here). Good luck with your classes! 73, Dave, KEØOG
Hello Dave, I’m a newer ham and (along with a few others) trying to get a technician class going and would like to possibly use your videos as part of the curriculum. Even if we don’t use them in our class your website will be the first thing I inform my students about. I used your videos as intro’s to the sections presented by the ARRL books and found them to be helpful understanding the concepts. Thank you for all the work you do putting your website together and offering these videos.
73, Tom W6MTS
Just wanted to let you know watched you video’s and took practice exam’s on the ARRL and eham sites over the course of a week. I took the Technician exam last night passed with only 1 incorrect answer. Just waiting for my call sign now. Thanks I’ll be watching the rest of your video’s for the next 2 licenses. Thanks again very helpful stuff.
Kevin, it’s not really compensation, but rather the costs of duplicating and mailing. It’s a really low-volume product, and it takes a couple hours to cut the DVDs. So, add all that up and that’s where the $30/set (postpaid) comes from. Of course, if you have Internet service where you’re giving the class, you can just play them on YouTube for free. Good luck with your class! 73, Dave