The Road to Extra

I’ve been a General class ham for many years now, but the thought of upgrading to Extra has always been hanging over my head. Honestly, it’s not really that I miss the additional band privileges — I really don’t — but after being licensed for close to a quarter of a century, I feel like I should take the time to just get it done.

I’ve been studying using Dave Casler’s (KEØOG) online self-study course. If you’re not familiar with his videos, you should check them out. They’re incredible and he offers programs for Technician and General, too.

What are you waiting for? Maybe it’s time for an early 2015 New Year’s Resolution?

Check out his website here.

Matt Thomas, W1MST, is the managing editor of AmateurRadio.com. Contact him at [email protected].

5 Responses to “The Road to Extra”

  • Harry K7ZOV:

    I, for one, want to wish you and everyone else who is looking for a Extra upgrade. The one striking thing I like about being a extra is simple. You don’t have to worry about being in the wrong place on the band as much. You dial, you hear someone and you talk. Of course those people in other parts of the world who talk in the middle of the CW band will still be off limits. But the reality is the Extra will give you Extra play space. So go for it and good luck. Me I had to un-learn morse code that I didn’t learn right in 1962-63 and re-learn. So my goal is to be more dangerous in the CW portion of the band and do more digital work. Being a Extra already I have plenty of places to play.

    Good luck one and all and let me be early and wish everyone a Happy New Year.. It is getting clooooose..

    73 Harry K7ZOV

  • Arne WA1ZBN:

    Matt, Having been a HAM for some 50 years, I never had the need to upgrade to Extra Class.
    But when the UK and other European countries stopped giving US General Class HAMS recipricol privileges which meant I could no longer operate my station in Scotland (I was GM5DIG), I am going to take a look at Dave’s online courses. Morse Code has never been a problem for me as the first 25 years as a General Class licensee I only worked Morse until I built my first Heathkit SB-104A station lol
    Thanks for posting this and good luck!
    Best 73s, Arne WA1ZBN

  • Richard KWøU:

    Good for you, Matt. It is satisfying to get to the last one. Besides being an interesting learning experience it is fun to snag the occasional DX that doesn’t go further up the band.

    My experience was a bit different than Harry’s. In 1983 I had to learn Morse for the test, but let it go again afterwards. Recently (after almost 3 years of self-study) made the 20 wpm ARRL proficiency test, something I’d taken on as a challenge. But that’s the nice thing about this hobby, there’s always something new to learn or try. In that spirit the Extra test is a good one to accomplish.

  • Fred AE2DX:

    Go for it Matt it took me 20 years as advanced to upgrade to Extra I originally passed the code when it was the in thing for upgrade but never took the written. Me and tests don’t get along hi hi, finally with the push from my extra friends I decided to take the book and the online study tests and put my brain to the grinding wheel. I only missed 2 questions on the test and was so relieved when I passed I been kicking myself for not doing it much earlier. Good luck.

  • Ernest AA1IK:

    I applaud you for this. Its a good thing to have. My philosophy on going through the ranks was ‘git’er done! When it was all over, I never had to be concerned where or when the next test session was going to be held. I could go anywhere in the bands I wanted to go, and not have to ‘stay out of certain sub bands’!

    I started as a novice and didn’t look up until I had the extra. It was worth the effort.

    73 de AA1IK

    Ernest Gregoire

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