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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 reach – easily! Watch this 7-minute 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. NOTE NOTE NOTE: The video refers to the second edition of the ARRL book, which will become obsolete on July 1st, 2014. The video is still valid, but please substitute the third edition for all references to the second edition.
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—short videos followed by short sections of self study. Enough – let’s watch the video! As you watch the video, change all references to the second edition to be the third edition.
Note that this video is available in a variety of resolutions, including HD.
The links I talked about
The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual,
ISBN 978-0-87259-097-7, ISBN 978-1-62595-013-0 (Third 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 session.
You can get the Manual by clicking on this link for the Third Edition at 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 under that particular video. Others may have the same question! I’ll post my reply to every question.
A set of these videos is available on DVD for $30, postpaid in the US. You may order by clicking here.
All the videos
Each video is on a “post,” meaning you click on the link below, and it takes you to the post with the video. Each post has any additional text to help you. You then return to this page. Be sure to keep track of where you are! 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.)
- Chapter 1, Welcome to Amateur Radio. See video above.
- Section 2.1, Radio Signals and Waves, for video click here. (Okay for use with 3rd edition)
- Section 2.2, Modulation, for video click here
- Section 2.3, Radio Equipment Basics, for video click here.
- Section 3.1, Electricity, for video click here.
- Section 3.2, Components and Units, for video click here
- Section 3.3, Types of Radios and Radio Circuits, for video click here.
- Section 4.1, Propagation, for video click here.
- Section 4.2, Antenna Fundamentals, for video click here.
- Section 4.3, Feed Lines and SWR, for video click here.
- Section 4.4, Practical Antenna Systems, 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, for video click here.
- Section 5.2, Digital Communications, for video click here.
See also this video about using packet radio bulletin boards.
- Section 5.3, Power Supplies and Batteries, for video click here
- Section 5.4, RF Interference (RFI), for video click here
- Section 5.5, RF Grounding, for video click here
- Section 6.1, Contact Basics, click here for video.
- Section 6.2, Band Plans, click here for video.
- Section 6.3, Making Contacts, for video click here.
- Section 6.4, Using Repeaters, for video click here
- Section 6.5, Nets, for video click here
- Section 6.6, Emergency Communications, click here for video
- Section 6.7, Special Activities, Modes, and Techniques, click here for video.
- Section 7.1, Licensing Terms, for video click here
- Section 7.2, Working with the FCC, for video, click here
- Section 7.3, Bands and privileges, for video, click here
- Section 7.4, International Rules, for video click here.
- Section 7.5, Call Signs, for video click here.
- Section 8.1, Control Operators, for video click here
- Section 8.2, Identification, for video click here
- Section 8.3, Interference, click here for video.
- Section 8.4, Third-Party Communications, for video click here.
- Section 8.5, Remote and Automatic Operation, click here for video
- Section 8.6, Prohibited Transmissions, for video click here.
- Section 9.1, Electrical Safety, click here for video
- Section 9.2, RF Exposure, click here for video.
- Section 9.3, Mechanical Safety, for video click here.
- Preparing to take your examination, for video click here.
Note that the videos are in reverse order.
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.