Congrats to the New Hams and upgrades!

Congratulations to those who attended the Ham Radio Classes at the Moose Family center in Chicopee MA.  It was great to see a lot of people interested in either getting a license or upgrading to a general or extra.

Rich, N1KXR is in the middle of teaching a class

The classes seem to go okay. It’s pretty difficult to cover all the sub elements with the time that we have but everyone stuck around and put their best foot forward.

We now have

  • 9 New Technicicans
  • 9 New Generals
  • 5 New Extras

Some of the new generals started off with no license at all and it’s great to see all the hard work pay off. There were some who didn’t pass what they wanted to get but it’s not the end of the world. You have the book, and there are a lot of places you can ask questions for the areas you’re having trouble with. If you stick with it, you’ll have your license or upgrader sooner than you think.

From a VE Standpoint,  It was the Biggest VE exam I’ve taken part in. It started off real slow as the candidates we’re all testing but then a big surge of tests started coming in which made for a busy afternoon.

Overall it was great. I’ve learned a lot about how these classes go and If I have the chance to do it again, I most likely would.

Hope to hear all the licensees on the air


VE Accreditation – Yeeeep

In April I decided to apply to be a VE with the ARRL VEC. Reason that I want to be a VE is that at some point (after obtaining my extra class license), I would like to help out with testing hams. Sort of a way to give back.

The process of becoming a ARRL VE is actually quite easy. All you need to do is to go to the ARRL VE  Website, Download the manual, Download the application and question form, Read and understand the manual, fill out the application, answer the questions using the manual, either mail or scan to PDF and e-mail the application with the completed questions to the ARRL.  According to the ARRL VEC, they will check your application and answer sheet, make sure you meet the requirements and issue you a certificate and VE badge that must be worn at VE Sessions. They will not tell you how many you got right or wrong and expect a wait time from 3 to 6 weeks. What ARRL does is hold onto the applications so they can print and mail everything at one time. From what I was told is that they print everything towards the end of the month so if you apply around that time, it could be in the next months pool.

After that time hopefully you will get one of these.


So if your part of a VE Team in the Pioneer valley MA and/or Northern Hartford county CT that uses ARRL VEC and need an extra VE. Depending on the schedule, I could help administer tests. Please use my contact page.  At the time I was writing this I passed my element 4 test and now have an extra class license. Once the FCC ULS updates I will tell the ARRL VEC of my upgrade and will carry around my license until I get a sticker or new badge from the ARRL.

Edit (6/15/2011) – I can’t believe how many people are googling for the answers to the VE questionnaire. It’s not really that hard if you think about it. All of the answers are IN the manual. If you’re trying to answer the questions without reading the manual, it’s going to be a lot harder. I also think that some of the questions are worded in a way so you have to think about it and form your answer based on what you thought. It’s not a copy and paste kind of test.

Extra Class… YAY!!

After a couple of weeks studying, I passed the Element 4 test and now have a extra class license

Extra Class
Extra Class

I used many tools to help my get my license.

Ham Radio Study – Android Application (Tango11)
Ham Test Prep (extra) – Iphone exams
Gordon West Extra Class Audio Course – Audio CD

I used all 4 of these tools to help get my license.  In my own opinion, Out of the 4 tools, I say that Ham Radio Study for the android is the best phone app for studying. The application is rather buggy (Don’t rotate your screen!) and there are no diagrams to help with questions that use digrams. The reason why I think it’s the best is that if your trying to brute force the questions and answers into your head, this application will help. It will cycle random questions from the pool and keep asking them until you “Mastered” the question till the point where there are no questions left. That will mean that you learned them all.

Ham test prep (extra) for the iPhone is a paid application and it’s useful. What I like about this application is that you can work at one section at a time or create a practice test with or without random questions. This application also shows diagrams and is pretty useful. Another thing I like is that it tracks and show how well your doing in each subelement group. If they were to incorperate the feature that the “Ham radio study” for android has then It would be the ultimate questions preparation application

For when I am driving around I used the gordon west audio CD. I skipped over the stuff involving math because I find it hard to do algebra while driving on the turnpike. What is great about the CD is that he covers the questions and answers while giving you a general reason why. So he is actually teaching you why instead of learning the answers to the questions.

To mix it up a little bit I also used the’s practice exams.  I knew I was ready when I kept scoring over 80% on these practice exams and the same with any other software/application I used.

Quick thanks to the Western Mass VE Team (WMVET) for their monthly testing. It’s been at the same place for as long as I can remember.

Hopefully that helps and say hello if you happen to catch me in the “EXTRA CLASS” portion of some of the bands.