Posts Tagged ‘VE Testing’

Review session

The last class of our Technician License course was held last night. We had what I guess you could call a review session.  Drew W2OU provided me with two practice exams, which I printed out and distributed to the class members.  We treated last night as the actual exam session. So not only did they get practice, but they also now know what to expect for next week.

After each exam was completed, we went over the tests together as a group.  It appears that on both exams, no one got more than six answers incorrect.  Since a passing grade allows for nine incorrect answers, it would appear that we are looking at a bunch of new Amateur Radio ops as of next Tuesday night.

To break things up a bit, we showed an Amateur Radio video in between the two exams. In all, I thought last night's session was exceptional. Our class members have proven to be eager, bright, inquisitive, and open to what we have been presenting to them.

It has been an honor and a privilege to work with them, as well as with my two fellow instructors, Marv K2VHW and Drew W2OU.  These two are amazing Amateur Radio ops and have an amazing amount of experience behind them.  The fact that Marv K2VHW is a retired broadcast engineer from WABC with a couple of Emmy Awards under his belt doesn't hurt, either!

I am looking forward to next week, and I just sent the group a final e-mail, detailing what to bring next week and basically telling how proud of them that we are. It's great to be able to help increase the ranks of Amateur Radio.  I also reminded them to relax. This is supposed to be fun, and besides, in the scheme of things, it's not like we're looking to cure cancer or end world hnger.

Oh, and by the way, I did work John K4BAI in Georgia, one of the 40 Meter Foxes last night.  I tried to work Kevin W9CF in Arizona, but I think the good props between NJ and AZ were over by the time I got home and wolfed down dinner. I see from his Fox log that Kevin worked some NJ stations, but that was while I was still in class.  By the time I was trying to work him, he was 229 - 339 at best and I just couldn't make myself be heard. There is nothing more frustrating than calling a station who is sending a CQ in the clear, only to have them resume calling CQ after you send your call!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Summer – it’s finally here!

After a long, cold Sprinter (that’s what you get when Winter seems to last endlessly into Spring), Summer is finally here! Yay! And as promised, as of today, numbers are being assigned for the 2014 NJQRP Skeeter Hunt.

The Hunt will be held on Sunday August 10th this year – and right now, the best place to see the rules is at I am trying to get the QSL.NET page updated with the new bonus points rules, but the server seems to be down right now.

Yes – bonus points this year for gathering enough letters from callsigns to spell out the word “SKEETER”. 100 extra points will be added to your score if you accomplish this feat. In any event, the NJQRP Skeeter Hunt is a grand time and folks seem to enjoy themselves a lot, so send me an email ([email protected]) and reserve your Skeeter number today.

Today was also the Raritan Valley Radio Club annual hamfest, which is held at Piscataway High School, in Piscataway, NJ.  The weather was absolutely beautiful – perfect for a hamfest!  It was sunny and it got up into the high 70s.  Very nice, but yet not exasperatingly hot. And as you can see from the two quick photos that I snapped with my phone, there was not a cloud in the sky. Unfortunately, it was perfect sunburn weather. Reporting time for the hamfest workers was 5:00 AM and as I was driving to the hamfest site, I had realized I had forgotten to bring sunscreen.  I discovered the hard way that there are NOT a lot of places open at 5:00 AM where you can buy sunscreen!

There were plenty of vendors and lots of buyers. The ARRL had a presence with the appearance of Bill Hudzik W2UDT, our section Vice Director. (Psst!  It helps that he’s a club member!) We also had a VE Exam session, where three people earned their Technician licenses, and we also had one upgrade to General and one upgrade to Extra.

In the top photo, you can see the huge mast sticking up from an old broadcast van that Brian N2MPM had acquired. Running up the mast was a PAR END-FEDZ antenna that Alan W2AEW using to make QRP contacts.  If you follow this blog, you know that I have mentioned Alan’s YouTube videos in the past. He does an excellent job producing videos on how to use test equipment and other neat technical tutorials. If you haven’t subscribed to his YouTube channel, then you are cheating yourself. After you read this go over and subscribe – it’s definitely worth it.

Here’s a video he took of today’s festivities:

Pulling off a hamfest like this is a huge undertaking. Thanks to the direction of our two Hamfest Committee Chairmen, Drew W2OU and Rich W2PQ and all the members of the RVRC, this comes off flawlessly – year after year.

In between my duties of assisting with the parking and placement of the vendors, and being the lead in administering the VE session, I did get a chance to look at the various wares on the tables.  I purchased some BNC to PL259 adapters and some large alligator clips that we will to connect to batteries that we will be using next weekend during Field Day. Not a big spender much to the discontent of the vendors, but much to the delight of my wife.  😉

I’ve been up way too long and am making way too many typos – even more than I usually make, so it’s off to the sack for W2LJ. (Thank God for spellcheck.)

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!
Skeeter #12 for 2014

Getting to be crunch time

For working FT5ZM, and it looks like I may not get them. I spent three hours tonight, trying to work them on both 20 and 30 Meters – no dice. They QRT on Tuesday, so time is running short. I would really like to work them, as most of the QRPers that I know are in their log book. But if it turns out that I don’t ….. well, the sun will still keep shining, the Earth will still keep spinning, and come Springtime, bunnies and birdies will dance on the lawn. And come 500 years from now, no one will know who W2LJ was, or how many countries he worked and at what power. You have to keep your eye on the bigger prize.

That’s like at the VE session that I worked this morning ….. there was a Ham there who was quite disappointed about being a General Class operator. This person has tried to upgrade to Extra, but is having a hard time of it, and is getting discouraged with the whole deal.

Goals are a good thing, but you have to remember that this is a hobby. We’re not looking for a cure for cancer here. It’s high time to enjoy what you have and not worry too much about what you don’t. Once you have fun with where you are, that just may take off enough self inflicted pressure to allow you accomplish what you feel is an impossibility.

As they say, the joy is in the journey, not the destination, whether that be an Extra class license or DXCC Honor Roll.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

W2QW – RVRC Hamfest

As mentioned previously, today was the Raritan Valley Radio Club (of which I am a member) Hamfest.  I got up bright and early at 4:00 AM to be on site by 5:30 AM, in order to help direct vendors and sellers to their spots in the Piscataway High School parking lot.

Providence was with us, and after a few days of soaking rain, when the sun rose this morning there was absolutely not a cloud in the sky.  In fact, for the duration of the hamfest, the sky was that deep, clear crystal blue that you see maybe only 4 or 5 times a year.

Things started off really slow but in the end, we ended up (again) having more sellers show up than last year and more buyers, too, which is a good thing!

Sadly, I really did not get a chance to browse and peruse the tables much.  In addition to my parking duties, I was asked to serve as one of the VEs for the test session that we held.

I’m the ONLY guy not wearing red – what’s up with that?!?    🙂
From L-R Marty KB2JSG, W2LJ, Tim AB2ZK (behind me), Marv K2VHW

Tim AB2ZK and Marv K2VHW keeping things under control with their iron fists.

We had 10 candidates come in for testing, and one candidate who wanted to upgrade walked away in a huff because we told him that he had to supply a photocopy of his license as per “da rules”.  He didn’t have a photocopy (only his original, which we were not about to take) and no one in the parking lot had a copy machine so he was a bit perturbed and literally stalked off.  We tried to tell him there was a supermarket near by where he could have gone to have a copy made, but for whatever reason, he was so annoyed that we didn’t see him for the rest of the day.  Just goes to show that you can’t please everybody.
Of the nine remaining candidates, two upgraded – one to General and one to Extra.  Six others got their Technician class license and one walked away empty handed.
By the time the VE session was completed and we had checked over all the paperwork and details, some of the sellers had actually left and a lot were packing up their wares.  I ended up doing a very quick run through.  I purchased a new binocular magnifying headset to replace my old, scratched up one.  This one has two LED flashlights built in.  I also ended up purchasing a hand held magnifying glass.  It’s tough when you start getting older, only to find out your eyes aren’t what they used to be!  I also purchased two 90 degree angle BNC to PL259 adapters for the KX3 at the good price of $3.00 each.
I really wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but would have enjoyed a more leisurely window shopping session.  Luckily, I will be able to make the Sussex ARC Hamfest this coming July.  That’s always a good hamfest and I will be able to peruse to my heart’s content as an anonymous attendee.
72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

Record Number of Freshmen Take Tech Exam At California University

Last estimation of the number of Amateur Operators in the US was 700,000. Now we can add another 62 to that number, as those 96 freshmen, out of 114 who took the test, passed and are now licensed Ham Operators.

CPAC Hamshack

Photo Courtesy of CPAC Website

The test session also set a new record for the school for how many signed up to take the test. The Electrical Engineering students from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California, gathered on November 4th for one of the largest exam sessions in the school’s history, sponsored by the college Amateur Radio club, Cal Poly Amateur Radio Club. The previous record of 62 students who passed their Tech license, was set in October of this year.

Cal Poly Electrical Engineering Department Chair Dr Dennis Derickson, AC0P, came up with the idea for the licensing initiative to offer the 180+ students in his class the chance to get their licenses. It took 11 VEs almost an hour to administer the test. A little extra incentive was making this test part of their mid-terms. As of Monday, November 7th, the new hams had their call signs in hand.

You can read more on this at the ARRL website. Congrats to the new Hams, and welcome to the fun!


Rich also writes a Tech blog and posts stories every Tuesday and Thursday on Q103, Albany’s #1 Rock Station website, as well as Amateur Radio stories every Monday thru Friday on AmiZed Studios and hosts a podcast called The Kim & Rich Show with his fiance’ Kim Dunne

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