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All New Technician License Class – Monument, CO

The Technician license is your gateway to the worldwide excitement of Amateur Radio, and the very best emergency communications capability available! This is the entry-level class for people who do not currently have an amateur (ham) radio license.

The Tri-Lakes Monument Radio Association (Monument, CO) is introducing a new approach to teaching the Technician Level ham radio license class. We have completely overhauled the delivery format of our Tech Class to make good use of both in-person and online training methods. The biggest change is that most of the core material will be delivered to the student via bite-sized online videos, ebook sections, and additional content from Ham Radio School. This dramatically increases the flexibility on how and when the student views this material, eliminating long, all-day classroom sessions. We will have three live Zoom sessions along the way to review the material and answer any questions you might have.

We understand that in-person training is extremely valuable for certain types of activities. Accordingly, we will have an in-person kickoff session (Feb 17) for the instructors to meet the students and show them how ham radio equipment is used. The licensing exam session (Mar 9) is another in-person event. Finally, after you receive your new license, we will have an in-person Get On The Air event (Mar 16) where you will make your first radio contact. To help guide you through this process, an experienced radio ham will connect with you, monitor your progress, and help you through the class.

The cost of the class is $50 ($40 for anyone under 18 years old), which includes everything you need for the class. A non-expiring subscription to the Ham Radio School Technician resources is included. We used to require you to have a printed copy of the Ham Radio School Technician book, but that same material will be delivered to you online as an ebook. Proceeds from this class go to support the Tri-Lakes Monument Radio Association, a non-profit organization.

You still need to pay a $35 license fee directly to the FCC after passing the license exam.

More details are in the attached flyer.

To register, go here:

You can probably tell I am excited about the new format for this class. It will make it easier on the instructors to deliver the material AND easier for the students to learn it. If you have questions, let me know!

Bob K0NR
[email protected]

The post All New Technician License Class – Monument, CO appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

Announcing: Extra Class License book

Followers of this blog know that I like to write stuff. My work shows up in many different venues, with a variety of purposes, but mostly I write with the goal of explaining technical topics to help people learn. My most recent project is co-authoring an Extra Class license book with Stu/W0STU for Ham Radio School.
Building on the successful formula of the popular Technician & General License Courses from Ham Radio School, we’ve crafted an Extra License Course that…
  • Prepares you to ace the exam
  • Imparts valuable practical knowledge
  • Is easy to digest
  • Serves as a handy future reference
It’s everything you expect from a Ham Radio School course:
  • Explains all 621 Extra exam question items.
  • Over 230 professionally crafted instructional illustrations.
  • Bite-sized topical sections in conceptual building block sequence.
  • Free online quizzes, section-by-section, and comprehensive practice exams.
  • Tons of free online learning supplements, section by section, including video, audio, articles and links.

Our goal with the book is to have you learn the exam material, not just memorize questions.

73 Bob K0NR

The post Announcing: Extra Class License book appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

My Story on QSO Today

About five years ago, Eric/4Z1UG interviewed me for the QSO Today podcast. He recently retrieved and remixed the audio recording and posted it on the QSO Today webpage. There are a few places where the discussion seems dated (such as the discussion of Yaesu Fusion, which was relatively new at the time.) However, for the most part, the dialog was good and still relevant. Well, at least to me, because it was my story.

During the interview, I mention some of my Elmers, including Virgil/W0INK who influenced me early in my ham career. I also talk about the concept of 360-Degree Elmering, which means that Elmers (mentors) can be found in many different places. Other topics include: Summits On The Air, Colorado 14ers,  the Tri-Lakes Monument Radio Association (W0TLM), repeaters, DMR in Colorado. There is a plug for Ham Radio School, where I continue to help out. Somehow we got on the topic of lists in amateur radio: DXCC entities, SOTA summits, states, etc.

Anyway, you may find it interesting.

73 Bob K0NR

The post My Story on QSO Today appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

Ham Radio School Does Video!

I’ve been teaching ham radio license classes with our local radio club for many years now using the Ham Radio School books, written by my friend Stu Turner (W0STU). We use a fast-paced two-day format that strives for efficient learning…go fast but have the students actually learn something. Towards that end, we were frustrated with the existing license books and online material available: they either just “taught the exam” or overwhelmed the student with too much detail. Stu ended up writing the Technician license book that solves this problem. Is easy to read and covers just enough of the material so that the student actually learns about ham radio.

Now Ham Radio School has moved to the next level, offering an online Technician class based on high-quality video training. Stu is an excellent instructor and very competent at explaining the key concepts, so the videos are easy to watch and digest. Different people have different learning styles, so the Ham Radio School learning system includes the highly successful Technician book, online videos, and an extensive set of support materials on the website. Of course, these different elements are integrated together and present the ham radio concepts in a consistent manner.

This is a snapshot from the Ham Radio School website showing the recommended study flow for getting your Technician license.

Stu has developed a video production system that really works, using professional computer graphics tools. The videos are easy to watch, proceeding at a decent pace. If you miss something, you can always back up the presentation and look at it again.

The Ham Radio School videos are professional produced and easy to watch and understand.

You can try out the first four Technician lessons at no charge and then decide if this approach works for you. The entire video course is available for an introductory price of $15.95. (The Ham Radio School book is available for $19.95). Depending on your learning style, you might just want to read the book, view the video class, or do both. Your choice.

73 Bob K0NR

Disclosure: I have contributed content to the Ham Radio School website, provided technical consulting on the General License class book, and have received compensation for this work.


The post Ham Radio School Does Video! appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

Choosing A First Handheld Radio

Once again, I was asked by a new ham “which handheld transceiver should I get?” This is a frequent and valid question that comes up. Often the question gets framed as “Baofeng or something better?” I say “something better.”  I am not writing to bash Baofeng radios or the people that use them. The radios are an incredible value on the low end of the market…amazing what they can do for $30 or so. Besides, I own several of them.  I just think that if you have a few more $$ to spend, you can get a much better radio. What’s wrong with these low-end Chinese radios? Out of spec harmonics on transmit and poor adjacent channel rejection on receive.

Digital? Probably Not

The other question that usually surfaces is “should I get a digital radio?” Here “digital radio” means D-STAR, Yaesu Fusion or DMR. My answer to that is “No,” unless you have a specific reason for going digital. Adding digital to a radio results in two things: 1) a higher price and 2) a more complex radio. Actually, the price difference may not be that significant, especially for a DMR radio. However, the complexity factor is always there.

What is a specific reason for going digital? You already know that there are digital repeaters in your area that you want to use, you have ham radio friends already using digital or you are technically-oriented and have researched the topic to know that it is something you want to try. If one of these things is true, then go for it.

Oh, you do need to know which digital format to get. No radio does them all and the industry is fragmented between D-STAR, Fusion and DMR. I find this very disappointing but life is sometimes like that.

Narrowing It Down

So narrowing the topic down, we are looking for an affordable (under $100) dual-band handheld that is not a cheap Chinese radio (Baofeng, etc.) and is not a fancy digital radio. My opinion is the quality ham radio manufacturers are pretty much Alinco, Icom, Kenwood, and Yaesu. The price points on basic handheld transceivers keep changing, so be sure to check the date on this post and do a little price shopping.

The Alinco DJ-VX50 is about $100, so not too expensive, but I am not seeing any product reviews on it. Also, it seems to be out of stock at several vendors, so I am not sure of its production status. Icom and Kenwood have exited the low-end handheld market, so nothing to consider there. This leaves Yaesu as the only “brand name” player in this space. I have been recommending the Yaesu FT-4XR as a good alternative: see What About the Yaesu FT-4XR? at about $80. I recently noticed that the Yaesu FT-65R has come down in price to about $85. With this price difference, it probably makes sense to go with the FT-65R. (I really wonder about Yaesu’s product line strategy at this point. Why are there two similar radios priced so close together?)

Here is a quick comparison of the two radios: Yaesu FT-4XR vs FT-65R, which is right for you? Conclusion: FT-65R is probably better for most people. Also, check out the article: Yaesu FT-65R Product Review.  The product reviews are generally positive on the FT-65R, but there are a few negative themes that surface. Some people are reporting radio failures that may indicate a manufacturing issue with the product. (It is made in China.)

The Good Old FT-60

The other theme that surfaces is that the FT-65R is not a complete replacement for the venerable FT-60R. Joyce/K0JJW and I have a couple of FT-60Rs that we really like and frequently use. Yaesu still sells this older model because it is so popular and, frankly, it is a really solid radio. The review of the FT-65R mentions several things that people tend to like on the FT-60R that were left out of the FT-65R (e.g., dedicated VFO and Squelch knobs.) The biggest complaint I hear about the FT-60R is that it has an old-school NiMH battery (the FT-65R has lithium-ion).

My conclusion is to recommend the FT-65R to newcomers to the hobby. At ~$85, it fits most people’s budgets. There is some risk that you will outgrow it down the road and want a more capable handheld for digital or APRS or whatnot. In that scenario, the FT-65R will still be a good second/backup radio. (Ya gotta have more than one, right?)

That’s my opinion. What y’all think?

73 Bob K0NR

The post Choosing A First Handheld Radio appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

General License Class – Black Forest, CO

Sat Sep 28 and Sat Oct 5
(8 AM to 5 PM)

Black Forest Fire Station
11445 Teachout Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80908

The General License provides access to regional and worldwide communications on the HF bands, greatly expanding your ham radio fun!

• Upgrade from Technician to General Class radio privileges
• Pass your FCC General Class amateur license exam Oct 12*
• See live equipment demonstrations and activities
• Learn to operate on the HF bands, 10 Meters to 160 Meters
• Gain a deeper understanding of radio electronics and theory
• Take the next step with antennas, amplifiers, digital modes

Registration fee: $30 ($20 for under 18 years of age)

Prerequisite: Students must already have their Technician License

The required study guide is: General License Course
Third Edition, effective 2019 – 2023, $24.95

* Free FCC exam session on Oct 12 at Black Forest Fire Station 9:30 am.

To register for the class, contact Bob KØNR,  [email protected]

Sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Monument Radio Association

The post General License Class – Black Forest, CO appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

Technician License Class – Black Forest, CO

Time: Saturday Sept 15 and Saturday Sept 22 (8 AM to 5 PM) 2018

Location: Black Forest Fire Station 1
(intersection of Burgess Rd. & Teachout Rd., Black Forest, Colorado)
Sponsored by the Tri-Lakes Monument Radio Association

The FCC Technician license is your gateway to the world-wide excitement of Amateur Radio, and the very best emergency communications capability available!

  • Earn your ham radio Technician class radio privileges
  • Pass your FCC amateur radio license exam right in class on the second day
  • Multiple-choice exam, No Morse Code Required
  • See live equipment demonstrations
  • Learn to operate on the ham bands, 10 Meters and higher
  • Learn to use the many VHF/UHF FM repeaters in Colorado
  • Find out how to participate in emergency communications

For more background on ham radio, see Getting Started in Ham Radio.

Registration fee: $30 adults, $20 under age 18
In addition, students must have the required study guide: Technician License Course
New Edition, effective 2018 – 2022, $22.95

Advance registration is required (No later than one week before the first session, earlier is better, first-come sign up basis until class is full.)

To register for the class, contact: Bob Witte KØNR
Email: [email protected]

The post Technician License Class – Black Forest, CO appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.

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