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

Austin Toombs austintoombs at googlemail.com
Tue Feb 26 11:14:25 EST 2013

I plan on being there as well, but I might have to call it a "maybe"
since I have not been feeling well recently and may not be able to
stay for as long as it lasts. It sounds awesome though!


On Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 10:52 AM, Jenett Tillotson <jtillots at cogbots.com> wrote:
> 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.
> Jenett
> 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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