[Bloominglabs-announce] Ham Cram - Sat. March 2nd

Jenett Tillotson jtillots at cogbots.com
Tue Feb 26 10:52:22 EST 2013

Wednesdays are too crazy to do this. It would never work with all the chaos
going on.

I'm planning on being there on Saturday.


On Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 10:38 AM, Corey Shields <cshields at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi all,
> I've had 1 response - will decide tomorrow night if there is enough demand
> to do this on Saturday.   Another option would be to spread it out over
> some wednesday nights (one per test element maybe?) but my wednesday nights
> are not very consistent.  So, please let me know soon if you were planning
> on attending.
> Thanks,
> -Corey
> On Fri, Feb 22, 2013 at 9:01 PM, Corey Shields <cshields at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Hi all!
>> tl;dr - if you are interested in learning about amateur radio (ham radio)
>> and getting a license, keep reading.
>> Saturday, March 2nd, 9am-5pm I'm going to offer a 1-day "ham cram" at the
>> space where I attempt to cover everything you need to know to pass the
>> Technician class license exam.  Some people follow these cram days
>> immediately with a testing session, but we have another group, a Monroe Co
>> CERT team, looking to do a special testing session in March as well.
>>  Amateur radio testing is not done by the FCC these days but by Volunteer
>> Examiners (VE's), that are vetted by a couple of authorized organizations
>> to administer tests.  It takes a minimum of 3 VEs to administer an exam
>> session.  So, to avoid stretching some of these guys too thinly I'm going
>> to forego any testing as they will already be offering a special session in
>> March.  This will be on Sunday March 10th at 4:30pm (logistics below).
>>  This gives you a chance to listen to me for a day and try to soak it all
>> in, and have a week to practice and brush up on flash cards online.  If
>> that date does not work, they also do testing the first Saturday of every
>> month in Bloomington at noon (I can get details if you'd like)
>> Logistics:
>> There is a lot to cover and it will be a long day, so we will start early
>> (9am) and promptly on 3/2.  The class is free, though I will ask that if
>> you are not a Bloominglabs member you make a donation to help pay for the
>> use of the space (which you can do in person or through paypal at
>> http://www.bloominglabs.org ). I will arrange for some pizza to be
>> delivered so please bring a few bucks for that, and PLEASE RSVP to me
>> directly (even if you don't need pizza) so I know how many are coming and
>> can arrange the space accordingly.   The next available test will be on
>> 3/10 at 4:30 (registration opening at 4:00) at the Maple Grove Christian
>> Church, 1503 W Simpson Chapel Rd. I am told that "the meeting room is in
>> the building next to the airplane" which I can only hope is a literal
>> interpretation. There are NO MORSE CODE requirements to ANY amateur radio
>> exam since 2003. Testing is $15 (not refundable if you fail), and when you
>> pass you will typically get your callsign through the FCC ULS database
>> within a few business days and then are legal to transmit.  Also required
>> is a photo ID and SSN or FCC FRN.  More details on that at
>> http://www.arrl.org/what-to-bring-to-an-exam-session
>> About the test:
>> The nice thing about amateur exams is that the entire question pool (and
>> answers) are publicly available.  For the technician exam there are 35
>> questions from a 394 question pool.  Don't let that number scare you, there
>> are a lot of questions that are repetitive in topic. A lot of them cover
>> electronic topics that many of you know already (ohm's law, anybody?).
>> Since the question pool is public, there are plenty of online practice
>> exams and flash card style sites.  My recommendation is
>> https://hamstudy.org/browse/E2_2010/T1  Basically, you can in fact
>> "study to the test" and pass.  If you fail, you're out $15.  Don't sweat
>> the test!  There is no age requirement to getting a license, and I won't
>> put an age requirement on the session - though this is a "cram" session and
>> as such I'll be going through topics quickly.
>> Why Ham Radio and Bloominglabs?
>> I have many reasons for proselytizing ham radio:
>> 1 - Amateur radio gives you a license to experiment in various radio
>> waves (within certain boundaries, of course). This goes hand in hand with
>> the Hackerspace movement.  For example, there are radio shields for Arduino
>> that would allow you much longer range communication, albeit slower, than
>> with wifi.
>> 2 - It is another way for hackerspace members to communicate!  Sure, IRC
>> and email are great; radio gives you all a chance to chat on the air as
>> well.
>> 3 - A more selfish reason, I am the emergency coordinator for Monroe
>> County ARES (amateur radio emergency services).  Along with a very similar
>> RACES organization (radio amateur civil emergency services), we offer
>> communications during emergencies and serve the county and state EMA.  I'm
>> always looking for more volunteers, especially as we branch out into more
>> digital communications in emergency situations.   Oh, and that point about
>> ARES and RACES providing communications in times of emergency, that's a
>> question on the test.  You're getting this already..
>> 4 - Similarly, we do a few public service events throughout the year
>> where we provide communications across an area that makes cellular
>> difficult, and we always need more help.  A good example being the Hilly
>> Hundred bike ride, where we provide SAG vehicles with voice communication
>> and GPS tracking through the hills of the course, along with communications
>> to all rest areas and race headquarters, all without cellular or internet..
>>  And its not all work, we have fun testing out new methods and modes
>> through these events.
>> 5 - dozens of different things to do in this hobby.  I haven't even
>> touched on the global communications aspect of it.  There's something cool
>> about talking to a person in New Zealand using no infrastructure - just a
>> radio and an antenna you built to go along with it.  Just as cool is taking
>> a portable HF radio and an Eeepc on a backpacking trip, setting up a
>> low-powered station and doing digital chat with people across the country.
>>  Here's a not-so-cheesy video advertising Field Day a few years back that
>> shows a few things possible:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=varHL752Odk
>> Cost of gear:
>> With the introduction of cheap radios from new Chinese manufacturers in
>> the past few years, getting into the hobby is cheaper than it has ever
>> been.  A cheap Handheld Transceiver ("HT") that covers the popular local
>> frequencies can be found for $50-$100, and with the repeaters we have in
>> town that is all you need to get started.  Mobile radios (also used as a
>> base radio) tend to have about 10x the power and start in the $200-$300
>> range, plus the cost of an antenna. Of course, as you add features, power,
>> and frequencies the cost goes up and the sky is the limit.  One nice thing
>> about the hobby is that the gear does not depreciate in usefulness the way
>> a lot of tech gear does (like your computer or phone).  The mobile radio I
>> put in the space is a model from the mid 90's.
>> So - if you've made it this far in the email, drop me a line and let me
>> know that you'll be there!   (feel free to email me questions as well)
>> Cheers,
>> -Corey (ham callsign KB9JHU)
>> Other links to study with:
>> http://www.arrl.org/getting-licensed
>> http://www.hamradioinstructor.com/guides.html
>> --
>> Corey Shields
> --
> Corey Shields
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